June 2016 News

Bus Driver Gives First-hand Account Of The Kud Encounter

16 June 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Srinagar: The Kud firing incident of June 13 in which a suspected militant and a woman were killed has created a storm in the state as some quarters are terming it a staged encounter. The driver of the J&K State Road Transport Corporation bus, whose identity has been withheld for security reasons, reveals to The Tribune what happened that day as he began the drive from Srinagar. Here, is an account from him in the first person: Twenty passengers boarded the bus outside the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) in Srinagar and the journey started around 8.30 am. The suspected militant Tanveer Sultan also boarded the bus at the TRC and had a carry bag with him. At Wanpoo in Anantnag, two more people boarded the bus, taking the passenger strength to 22. The bus stopped at Qazigund for lunch and then continued for the onward journey. Tanveer missed the bus at Qazigund and was able to catch it again after crossing the Lower Munda toll plaza. He reached there in a Tata Sumo and the carry bag was still with him. The bus continued its journey and when it reached Banihal, I asked the SRTC ticket checker to confirm from Tanveer whether he had a genuine ticket or not. Tanveer answered in the affirmative, so I moved on. On the insistence of the woman, Mamata Thapa, who got killed at Kud, the bus again stopped at Ramban for refreshments. After a few minutes, the journey continued. When the bus was moving through Patnitop, three youth belonging to Punjab told me that a man was armed with a revolver inside the bus. I told them that the man might be having a licensed revolver. When the bus moved inside the CRPF-police checkpost for a routine checking near Kud, I informed the police that a man was carrying a revolver and told them to carry out a check. I got down and started checking the wheels and other parts of my vehicle. When passengers were alighting from the bus, Personal Security Officer of MoS Ajay Nanda, who was also travelling in the bus, raised an alarm that a man was carrying an AK-47, and then the suspected militant started firing. We took shelter under the bus. In the meantime, a bullet-proof vehicle of the CRPF came and neutralised the militant.