September 2019 News

PDP Leader's Family Held Hostage For 10 Hours, PSO's Weapon Snatched

13 September 2019
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In yet another daring strike in sensitive Kishtwar district, fourth in past about 10 months, three militants held hostage entire family of People's Democratic Party (PDP) district president Sheikh Nassir Hussain at Gourian in Kishtwar town and escaped with Insas rifle of his Personal Security Officer (PSO) this morning using car of Nassir's brother, Dr Nazir Ahmed. The car was tonight found abandoned at Dool, about nine kilometers from Kishtwar and about one kilometer short of a naka while all three militants managed to escape. The militants reportedly included Osama of Marwah, Kishtwar, Haroon Wani alias Zahid, an MBA student-turned militant and a resident of Doda and Naved, an SPO deserter-turned militant of Shopian. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh told the Excelsior that massive hunt has been launched to nab the militants by Kishtwar police. 'All out efforts are being made to track down the militants, who fled with service weapon of the PSO,' Singh said, adding that police parties have fanned out in different directions. Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana told the Excelsior that curfew was imposed in Kishtwar town and surrounding areas soon after the militants escaped from Kishtwar town along with rifle of a PSO. 'Curfew was imposed at 12.30 pm as a precautionary measure as there were reports that the militants could be hiding in the town,' Rana said, adding that people have been asked to remain alert and cautious. Sources said Army and CRPF were also assisting Kishtwar police in the search operations to trace the militants but success remained elusive till the reports last came in. An alert has also been sounded in Kishtwar in anticipation of terror attack by the militants with the snatched rifle. Reports said three militants struck at Gourian in the heart of Kishtwar town around 11.45 pm late last night and forced their entry into the house of Sheikh Nassir, district president of the PDP. The militants were equipped with one AK rifle and two pistols. They held entire family hostage including Sheikh Nassir, his brother Dr Nazir Hussain and female members and children and locked them inside the house. They tied some of the family members with ropes and asked for the PSO of Nassir, who had left for the house around 9 pm. The militants hid themselves inside the house after locking family members inside the room and snatching their mobile phones. In the morning, they asked Sheikh Nassir to call his PSO on mobile phone at gun point. As the PSO, identified as Mubassar Ahmed, a Special Police Officer (SPO) reached the house unmindful of the militant attack, he was overpowered by the militants, beaten-up and his Insas rifles along with magazine was snatched. The militants forcibly took keys of Dr Nazir's WagonR car No. 6571 JK 17 and escaped with weapon and magazines around 9.30 am. Dr Nazir told the Excelsior that the militants repeatedly threatened to kill Sheikh Nassir if anyone tried to raise an alarm. He said the militants took four empty rice bags from the house and packed the rifle and ammunitions in them before fleeing. He said the militants were three in numbers and one of them was carrying an AK rifle and other two had pistols with them. 'It was horrifying night for us with militants holding us hostage, locking us in the house and tying some of us with ropes using adhesive,' Dr Nazir said, adding the PSO of Sheikh Nassir displayed courage and jumped boundary wall to inform the police after the militants fled. Police parties reached the spot immediately and freed us, Dr Nazir said. Sources said target of the militants was to snatch weapon of Nassir's PSO to carry out terror attack. This evening, police recovered Wagon Rcar in which the militants had escaped at Dool, about nine kilometers from Kishtwar. The car had been parked on roadside, just kilometer short of a naka. The militants had taken away the snatched rifle and magazine with them. Army, CRPF, Special Operations Group and Kishtwar police teams have launched searches at various places but the militants remained untraced. While exact identity of militants involved in the incident was yet to be ascertained, reliable sources identified them as Osama of Marwah, Kishtwar, Haroon Wani alias Zahid of Doda and Naved of Shopian, who was an SPO deserter. They were earlier also involved in militant activities in Kishtwar. They were among around dozen militants active in Kishtwar district for last more than a year now. Sheikh Nassir Hussain, presently the district PDP president and an Advocate is a prominent personality of Kishtwar and had also been associated earlier with journalism. He had worked for two newspapers of the State before joining politics. Sources said police have recorded statement of the PSO whose weapon has been snatched and also subjected him to questioning. Fresh wave of panic has gripped Kishtwar town following daring presence of the militants in the heart of Kishtwar town once again, where they stayed for the night till morning and decamped with weapon of the PSO without being intercepted anywhere notwithstanding the fact that State wide alert has been sounded about the militants' plot to carry out terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of the State and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. Previously also, the militants had walked freely from Kishtwar town after three major terror attacks in the past about ten and half months. Though police and SOG have carried out major search operations to eliminate the militants, they remained at large. Eight to 10 identified militants were active in Kishtwar district but their number could be a little more as there were reports that some militants from South Kashmir have also infiltrated into the upper reaches. However, the Kashmiri militants generally return to their bases after spending some time in other areas.