July 2007 News

Major, SPO Killed In Baramulla

24 July 2007
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Even as an Army officer of the rank of Major has died in umpteenth incident of fratricide in Kashmir valley today, one Special Police Official (SPO) got killed and another injured in a fierce gunbattle in which two militants were holed up in Rafiabad area of Baramulla district tonight. Informed sources in north Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 32 Bn and Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu & Kashmir Police launched a cordon-and-search operation at Lam Mohalla Nadihal in Rafiabad belt of Baramulla district in the afternoon today. According to the information, two militants of Al-Badar Mujahideen were present at the house of one Ali Mohammad Lone. Sources said that as soon as troops swooped on the target house, the holed up militants opened heavy volume of gunfire, hitting two SPOs of SOG. Even as SPO, Shahnawaz, who is a resident of Pattan, was evacuated in critical condition, rushed to Srinagar and admitted to SMHS Hospital, troops and the SOG men failed to retrieve SPO Waahid, dead or alive. Resident of Kanth Bagh Baramulla, SPO Waahid succumbed to injuries inside the house under operation. Sources said that troops tightened the cordon and exchange of gunfire was going on till reports last came in tonight. Most of the officials maintained that there was no possibility of the militants' escape and both of them would be certainly killed. Preparations were underway to destroy the target house with IEDs as the holed up militants appeared to be in possession of large quantity of arms and ammunition. Officials engaged in the operation appeared certain that both the holed up militants were Pakistani cadres of Al-Badar Mujahideen. Residents, however, did not rule out the possibility of their being local cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen. Sources said that one Sepoy Mohan Chand had a heated exchange with his officer, Maj P Alexander of 8-Bihar at a forward post in Kanzalwan-Bagtoor belt, close to LoC, in Gurez sector last evening. In an impulsive drive, Mohan Chand fired upon the officer with his service rifle, killing him on the spot. Other members of the unit overpowered the furious soldier and disarmed him. He was taken into custody. Sources said that Army today constituted a court martial against the delinquent soldier. Over two dozen incidents of fratricide take place among armed forces in Kashmir valley each year. Meanwhile, reports said that dead body of an 80-year-old unidentified person was recovered from a deserted spot on Tral- Kehleel Road today. He appeared to have been hit in the head though there were no marks of other torture or gunshots on the dead body. Reports said that late last evening, a 15-year-old student, Bashir Ahmed Dar S-o Ghulam Ahmed Dar R-o Khanpora, Baramulla, drowned when his boat capsized in the Jhelum downstream. His body had not been fished out till late this afternoon. Police today arrested an extortionist from Khansahib tehsil of Budgam . A former HM militant was nabbed and an AK 47 rifle, three magazines and 23 rounds were recovered from his possession. 'The released militant Gh Qadir Sheikh s-o Assadullah Sheikh of Kachwari, Khansahib used to extort money on the gun point and had made the lives of people extremely difficult', said SHO police station Khansahib. 'He used to cover his face and barge into houses and demand money from the people', he added. 'Under the guise of a militant, he asked for donations and shelter from the people. In case of refusal they were threatened of dire consequences', he said The locally trained militant had been nabbed by Border Security Force in an operation in Srinagar in 2002 and subsequently released. It then seemed that the released militant, aged between 20 to 22, had joined the mainstream, the SHO said. However over past few months there was a spurt in extortion complaints in the area. The young man had snatched a mobile phone from a local resident. After entertaining his complaint, we made a pursuit of the phone calls and finally we were able to trace the extortionist. 'We laid a trap and Gh Qadir was nabbed in his native village of Kachwari, ' the police officer said. During interrogation, Gh Qadir confessed that after his release five years ago, he used to be in the company of three HM militants operating in the area. Some time ago two militants of the group were eliminated and another was arrested in an operation, the officer said, adding that Qadir managed to acquire weapons of one of the militants. With this weapon, he forcefully exacted riches from the people. However, the SHO said that no cash recoveries have been made from the arrested person.


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