Hizb ultra arrested after killing 28 soldiers, civilians

31 March 2008
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR: In a major achievement, Srinagar Police today claimed to have arrested Hizbul Mujahideen's Pulwama-based commander Rayees Kachru, who had allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and civilians in the last seven years. Meanwhile, two militants are believed to have got trapped at a mosque during the course of a cordon-and-search operation by Police and security forces at village Papchhan in Bandipore. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Shiv Murari Sahai, disclosed at a hurriedly organised news conference this afternoon that Police had finally succeeded in apprehending one of the top wanted commanders and IED experts of Hizbul Mujahideen, Rayees Ahmad Dar alias Rayees Kachru S-o Ghulam Hassan Dar R-o Panzgam, Pulwama. He said that the militant, responsible for at least 28 killings in the last seven years, had been arrested at his hideout in Srinagar early in the morning today over a specific information. According to IGP, Kachru's arrest and subsequent sustained interrogation led to the recovery of 3 Universal Machine Guns, 1 Sniper rifle, 1 AK 47 rifle, 4000 rounds of assorted ammunition, 3 pistols, 3 wireless sets, 2 rocket launcher shells, 4 shells, 1 hand grenade, 3 rifle grenades besides 2 canes of liquid explosive containing around 60 litres of explosives and one IED weighing 25 Kgs, all in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. A Defence spokesman later claimed that Kachru was Hizbul Mujahideen's 'District Commander' and insisted that the recovereies were made by troops of Rashtriya Rifles 55 Bn alongwith Special Operations Group of J&K Police. IGP said that the dramatic arrest of the category 'A' militant, Rayees Kachru, had come as a serious setback to Hizbul Mujahideen as the organization had nearly exhausted its top and middle-rung leadership in Kashmir. He described Kachru as one of the most competent and experienced IED expert of Hizbul Mujahideen who had planned, facilitated and executed dozens of attacks on Police, Armed forces and common civilians, mostly in Pulwama-Awantipore belt in south Kashmir in the last seven years. Quoting Police records, IGP said that the detained militant had caused a powerful IED blast on 5th December 2004 at Naina Batpora, which had destroyed a private Tata-Sumo, killing all the 9 Army personnel of Rashtriya Rifles 01 Bn traveling in it as well as the civilian driver. He said that Kachru had earlier left 5 personnel of BSF 9th Bn dead in a similar IED blast that had destroyed an armoured Casper at Lassipora, in Pulwama district, on 2nd October 2000. IGP said that in yet another deadly strike, Kachru had also destroyed an armoured Casper of CRPF 130 Bn at Kawni, Awantipore, on 17th August 2007, killing 5 paramilitary personnel. IGP said that on 10th November 2006, Kachru had, alongwith other militant associates of his organization, hurled a hand grenade on the Bareilvi theologian, Maulvi Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, at Jamia Masjid of Tahab. While seven Muslims got killed in this terrorist strike, 23 others were left injured. Earlier on 12th August 2001, Kachru had reportedly planted an IED to target security forces at Tahab. According to IGP, Kachru had also killed an innocent civilian, namely Ismail Mir S-o Ghulam AhmadMir R-o Sugart Pulwama on 14th November 2001. IGP revealed that during the intervening night of 19th and 20th December, 2005, Kachru and his underground associates had damaged two buildings constructed by IRCON Authorities for accommodation of CRPF at Naina Batpora. In a statement here today, Hizbul Mujahideen's Central Spokesman Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman confirmed Kachru's arrest but insisted that he was an ordinary member of his organization and not a commander. Meanwhile, official sources said that troops of RR 57 Bn, CRPF 192 Bn, SOG and Bandipore Police launched a cordon-and-search operation at village Papchhan this evening. During the operation, two militants opened fire while coming out of their hideout and took shelter inside a mosque this evening. Troops zeroed in on the place of worship but did not retaliate gunfire. Late night reports said that the stand-off was continuing at the mosque. Sources said that a BSF water tanker, bearing registration No. JK01J-0901 hit one Abdul Gani Dar SPO 187-DPL Srinagar S-o Gh Rasool R-o Nowpora, Chesmashahi, on Indira Gandhi road near STC of BSF at Humhama. The SPO died on spot. Police have registered FIR and arrested the driver for the offence of causing death by rash and negligent driving. Sources said that the dead body of one Mehmood Taidwa (40) S-o Late Syed Alam R-o Gujar Patti Thune Kangan was fished out today from the power canal of Upper Sindh Power Project near fore bay at Kangan. Cause of death was being ascertained.