Banihalís most wanted ultra shot dead
15 October 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: In a major success for army and a big blow to Hizbul Mujahideen, the troops today eliminated a Hizbul Mujahideen Ďdivisional commanderí Nazir Ahmed Wani alias Papplu in an encounter at Worigam nullah, about six kms from Banihal late last night. In other operations, army eliminated four militants in Poonch and Rajouri districts. Defence sources said the army personnel of 12 Rashtriya Rifles, who had intensified searches to eliminate Papplu early this year in view of his stepped-up militant activities, cordoned off Worigam nullah last night on a tip off that he had taken shelter in a house all alone as he was moving towards a plain area to collect extortion amount from a contractor. Troops surrounded an isolated hut in the area where Papplu, the most wanted militant of Banihal-Ramban tehsil who had let loose a reign of terror for last 11 years, was suspected to be hiding. Army personnel, being commandeered by senior officers, didnít have too much resistance as they were expecting, mainly due to the fact that Papplu had left behind his 'committed body guards' and heavy weapons to avoid any doubts to security forces. Papplu was carrying only one sophisticated pistol with him at the time of gun- battle. When he exhausted all rounds of his pistol, the troops stormed his hideout and gunned him down. It was, however, only in the morning that identity of the slain militant was established as Nazir Ahmed Wani son of Mohd Sharief Wani alias Papplu (code name Amir-ul- Haq), a resident of Dulligam, Banihal. Army personnel, police and local people celebrated the killing of Papplu as a word spread this morning that the most dreaded ultra, who was wanted in a series of civilian and security forces killings, has been eliminated. Local people and relatives of Papplu also identified his body in presence of army and police officers, the sources said, adding one pistol was all the troops could recover from his possession. 'We hadnít expected such an easier encounter with Papplu. We had taken a strong contingent of army to the spot expecting a prolonged encounter with Papplu and his associates', they said expressing surprise that he was travelling without his body-guards. According to sources, Papplu used to travel alone on earlier occasions also to avoid an encounter with the army. 'Last night the militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit, who had of late developed serious differences with Papplu, had leaked an information to army and police about the visit of Papplu to a contractorís house to get extortion money', they said. Earlier this year, Papplu had leaked an information about three LeT militants, who were killed by the security forces. 'The LeT cadre sounded army on Pappluís movement to revenge the killing of their cadre', they added. Papplu was a gang leader in early nineties before he was lured by the Hizbul Mujahideen militants and sent for arms training in 1994. He returned to Banihal in the same year and became an active militant. After a year, he again went to Pakistan and got training in guerrilla warfare and fabricating and planting of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Since then, he was known as an IED expert in Banihal and was instrumental in a series of IED explosions in Banihal, Ramban and Jammu-Srinagar national highway in which a number of army, BSF, CRPF and police jawans were killed and injured. Besides, he was also involved in civilian killings. In one of the IED blast triggered by Papplu, 10 security personnel were killed at Hingni, Banihal while in another IED explosion at Dulligam, Capt Hari Raj and Subedar Parveen Kumar were killed in 1999. Sources said security forces had also laid a siege of Pappluís house in civil clothes on October 9 on the occasion of his sisterís marriage as there were reports that he might travel to his house disguising him as a member of marriage party to bless his sister. However, he didnít turn up. He used to collect monthly extortions from engineers, contractors and other rich people. This had led to a strong resentment among people against Papplu. This year, Papplu was virtually on the run as army and police had launched several special operations to eliminate him. Six hideouts of Papplu were destroyed by the troops this year in Banihal tehsil. 'In view of security forces stepped-up pressure, several associates of Papplu had offered to surrender but Papplu threatened them of dire consequences and thwarted their attempt', the sources pointed out and hoped that with Pappluís killing, these activists now will surrender before the army. Our Poonch correspondent adds Army and police, in a joint operation carried out this afternoon, eliminated two militants at Hari Buddha in Surankote tehsil. Operation in the area was going on when the reports last came in. Reports said that three more militants were reported to be hiding in the area. Security forces have surrounded the area and were making an attempt to eliminate them. Two AK rifle and some ammunition have been recovered from the scene of encounter. Security personnel didnít suffer any casualties in the operation. One militant each was killed in Mandi, Poonch and Keri in Rajouri district. The militant killed in Keri was an infiltrator. From him, army recovered one rifle and Rs 14,500.