April 2019 News

Gunfight In Bijbehara Town After 19 Years; 2 Hizb Militants Killed

25 April 2019
Kashmir Reader
Suhail A Shah

Bijbehara: Two local militants of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were killed on Thursday in Bijbehara town of south Kashmir's Anantnag district, in a gunfight with government forces that took place in the town after a gap of almost 19 years. The last gunfight in main town Bijbehara had taken place in 2000, when two militants of Hizb - residents of the town - were killed after a daylong gun battle in New Colony area of the town. Many local youth of the town have recently joined militant and some of them have also been killed, but in gunfights that have taken place elsewhere. Today, the gunfight took place near the under-construction Trauma Hospital in the town, along the old alignment of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The slain militants have been identified as Safdar Amin Bhat, son of Muhammad Amin, a resident of Zirpara area of main town Bijbehara, and Burhan Ahmad Ganaie alias Dr Burhan alias Saifullah, son of Ghulam Muhammad Ganaie, a resident of SK Colony in main town Anantnag. Safdar was a school dropout and had joined militant ranks in May 2017. Burhan was pursuing a Bachelors in Physiotherapy and had joined Hizb in June last year. They were killed in a residential house near the Trauma Hospital in a pre-dawn gunfight. A senior police official from Bijbehara told Kashmir Reader that there were prior inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. 'A CASO was launched at about 2:00 in the morning. While we were cordoning off the area, the militants opened fire, which was retaliated,' the official said. The gunfire from the militants and the retaliatory gunfire and use of heavy explosives by the government forces continued for about two and a half hours, before the house was damaged and the militants were killed. Bodies of the militants were retrieved from what remained of the house, along with an AK-47 and an SLR rifle, by the government forces. After medico-legal formalities, later in the day, the bodies were handed over to the families. Despite a spontaneous shutdown, observed in both Bijbehara and Anantnag towns, thousands of people reached Zirpara and SK Colony to participate in several rounds of funeral prayers held for the slain. The youth, here in Bijbehara, raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans while they took a procession across the town after burying Safdar at the local martyrs' graveyard. Clashes erupted in some parts of Anantnag and Bijbehara towns but there were no reports of anyone getting injured. Internet services were snapped across Anantnag district in the wee hours of Thursday and were yet to be restored when this report was filed.