Longest-surviving Militant Commander Of J&K Puts Down Arms19 August 2011
Srinagar: The longest surviving militant commander of the Valley has put down arms and given peace a chance in Jammu and Kashmir. Mohammad Rafiq Sheikh alias Basharat, divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen of the Pir Panchal Regiment, was active since 1997 and has never been arrested. Hailing from Reasi, his group was dreaded for their terror activities in the higher reaches of Kashmir. Three of his associates - Bashir Ahmad alias Rashid, Mohammad Maqbool and Mohammad Shafi - also surrendered in Kulgam district. Police said it took them more than two months to convince them to surrender. “They have never been arrested. It took us lot of efforts and motivation to convince them to lay down the arms. It is major success for forces in J&K. They were the longest to be active in this area,” Mubassir Latiefi, superintendent of police, Kulgam, said. From killings to abduction to lethal attacks on security forces, the Basharat group was notorious for their activities spanning from south Kashmir to Reasi district of Jammu. Dozens of cases are pending against them in different police stations in Kulgam and Reasi districts.