Lal Chowk Attack Mastermind Killed21 July 2010
Sopore: In a major setback to the militants operating in the Kashmir valley, the security forces today gunned down one of the ‘most wanted’ militants of the state, who was also the mastermind of the Lal Chowk attack on the security forces in January this year. As per police sources, Nouman, alias Mooch Wala, alias Mike Islam, who was the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan-based Harkut-ul-Mujahideen, was killed along with a local commander of the outfit, Arif, alias Bitta, in a day-long encounter with the security forces in the Haigam area of Sopore town of Baramulla district today. A soldier too was killed yesterday when the encounter started. The sources said a Pakistan national, Nouman was the chief of the Harkut-ul-Mujahideen in the state and was active in the Valley for the past six years. He was responsible for carrying out all major attacks on the security forces in the Valley. “On specific information regarding the presence of militants at Parray Mohallah, Haigam in Sopore, personnel of 52 RR, 29 RR and the Sopore police laid siege to the village and started a search operation. The militants barged into a house and took shelter there. The security forces evacuated all civilians in neighbouring houses immediately,” the sources said. The hiding militants fired upon the search party of the police and the Army and an encounter ensued. Nouman and Arif were killed in the gunfight, they added. “Besides various crimes, Nouman was also involved in the killing of a police constable and three CRPF men at the Sopore bus stand,” the sources said. The security forces consider the killing of Nouman as a breakthrough in their fight against militancy, as besides planning attacks on them he was well trained to recruit fidayeens and was luring the local youth to join militancy. He was also an expert in IED making and hit-and-run attacks on the security forces. His name also figured in the list of five most wanted militants in the Kashmir valley. “The killing of Nouman is a major setback to militant outfits in Kashmir,” a senior Army officer said.