Lt Colonel, Lashkar Valley chief killed in gunbattle

16 March 2008
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

SRINAGAR: A Lieutenant Colonel and an Army jawan were killed on Sunday when security forces launched a joint operation against militants at Rafiabad in Sopore during which Hafiz Nisar, said to be the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief in the Kashmir valley, was shot dead. The operation was carried out by the J-K Police, Army and CRPF. “We have killed the valley chief of Lashkar,” the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) for North Kashmir, Balaji Srinivasan, told The Indian Express. “It is a major blow to the militant outfit. He was coordinating all activities for the outfit.” Following a tip-off, the joint security forces team cordoned off Chatloora village of Rafiabad. As the security personnel were cordoning a cluster of houses in the village, Nisar started firing indiscriminately at them. The security personnel returned the fire leading to a fierce gunbattle. In the initial burst of militant fire, a soldier and personnel of J-K Police’s elite anti-insurgency force Special Operations Group were injured. The militant subsequently moved to an adjacent house. As the joint party cordoned the house, the militant positioned himself inside the house and started firing at the security forces. Lieutenant Colonel B Kadamb, who was the second in charge of Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles, and jawan Pradeep Kumar received bullet injuries during the gunbattle and later succumbed to their injuries. The J-K Police see the killing of Nasir as a major breakthrough for the security forces and a severe blow to LeT.