DySP Mendhar serious in militant attack
23 May 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Mendhar Yougal Manhas and his driver were injured, the SDPO seriously, when a militant fired a burst from an AK-56 rifle directly targetting Mr Manhas in his police Gypsy, just outside his office, this morning. Mr Manhas, who was posted in Mendhar for last three and a half years and was SDPO Mendhar for past two and a half years, was on way to his office from his residence in Mendhar town when a militant, who had mixed up himself among a group of people sitting at ‘Shaheedhi Sthal’, adjacent to the DySP’s office, fired a burst from AK-56 rifle on the police official sitting on front seat of the vehicle, driven by Zahoor Ahmed, constable. Five bullets pierced through arms, chest and legs of the DySP while two bullets hit an arm and a hand of his driver. The incident took place at 9.45 am, official sources said. The SDPO’s residence and office had a distance of just 400 meters, with both located in heart of the town. Within no time, the DySP’s escort and police parties led by SHO Mendhar Inspector Brij Mohan Sharma took positions in the area and started a hunt for the militant, who was wearing blue shirt and black pent. The AK-56 had been hidden by him inside his pent. The militant, however, disappeared as police concentrated its maximum efforts to rush the injured DySP and his driver to hospital. Mr Manhas was airlifted from Mendhar at 11 am after preliminary treatment at Sub District Hospital in Mendhar and admitted in Government Medical College, hospital here. Director General of Police (DGP) Gopal Sharma also flew-in to Mendhar from Srinagar to review security situation following a daring attempt by a militant to kill the DySP. DIG Rajouri-Poonch range M A Anjum and SSP Poonch Jagjit Kumar also rushed to the spot soon after the firing incident. Injured driver, Zahoor Ahmed, was airlifted here in the DGP’s helicopter at 1 pm and admitted in the GMC Jammu. Injured DySP was successfully operated upon by a team of Surgeons, Cardio Thoracic Surgeons (comprising Dr Gurjeet Singh and Dr Arvind Kohli) and Ortho Surgeons in the GMC Jammu late this afternoon after he was administered a large number of AB positive blood due to massive loss of blood. GMC Deputy Superintendent Dr Satish Sharma said all bullets have been removed during the operation and Mr Manhas was admitted in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the GMC. His condition was critical and would require a close watch for next 48 hours due to involvement of lungs. Injured driver was also operated upon in the evening and he was responding to the treatment. Sources said entire Mendhar town observed a shut down as the news of attack on Mr Manhas, who hailed from Doda, spread. People from both communities reached Shaheedhi Sthal, from where the shots were fired at the police official, and held prayers for recovery of Mr Manhas whom they described as honest, dedicated and an upright police officer, who had been serving the people of Mendhar for last three and a half years. Some of the people were also heard saying that the DySP, who is a 2001 batch KPS officer, became a victim of the conspiracy. Police have launched a massive search operation in Mendhar town and outskirts to apprehend or eliminate the militant involved in the attack. Sources said a number of people who come to Mendhar town from villages for shopping and court attendance keep on sitting at Shaheedhi Sthal. The militant took their advantage, mixed up himself with the civilians and opened firing as the DySP was entering his office. The DySP had daily routine of reaching the office before 10 am barring the days of meetings and searches, sources said. They added that police couldn’t retaliated as a large number of civilians were present at Shaheedhi Sthal and police action would have lead to civil casualties. Searches in the town were on when the reports last came in. Meanwhile, an Al-Mansoorian spokesman, Amir Mir, rang up the Excelsior from PoK to claim responsibility for attack on the DySP. He said that it was a fidayeen attack and was executed by two ‘bhais’ (fidayeens). Both ‘bhais’ returned to their hide-out safely, he said. Police, however, maintained that only one militant was involved in the attack. Also it was not a fidayeen attack as the militant committed action for few seconds and fled away, police added. Police today apprehended one Over Ground Worker (OGW) at Dhabipura in Doda and recovered 21 SLR rounds, two grenades, one muzzle loading gun, two IEDs, five gelatin rods, three empty cases of 12 bore gun and four safety fuses. In Kunjaluna Khari area of Banihal tehsil in Ramban district, security forces recovered one AK rifle, three magazines, 100 rounds, one wireless set, two UBGL grenades and one battery.