Total Pageviews

Monday, October 22, 2012

After failing to attack CM at KU, LeT ultras killed in Sopore

‘Div Commdr’ Hashaam, Abdullah Shaheen killed in 24-hour-long operation

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar, Oct 21: In a significant achievement, Police and security forces have killed two of the top wanted militant commanders of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, who had planned to attack Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during his recent visit to the Kashmir University campus at Hazratbal. LeT’s ‘Divisional Commander’ Muzamil Amin Dar alias Hashaam, alongwith a Pakistani commander of his outfit, had been directed to accept Chief Minister’s ‘attack-me’ challenge but Police not only foiled their plan but also tracked them deep into Sopore town and finally eliminated them both today.

Highly placed authoritative sources revealed to Early Times that Muzamil alias Urfi alias Hashaam of Badam Bagh, Sopore, alongwith a Pakistani militant of LeT, had been given the task of planning and executing a fatal attack on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah immediately after the latter’s open challenge to militants last month. In his reaction to killing of a Panch in Sangrama area of Sopore, Chief Minister had publicly commented that militants were "cowards" and they had been attacking soft targets. He had challenged them to carry out an attack on him and face the retaliation.

According to the information available with the official sources, some Sopore-based militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, headed by Muzamil, conducted a reconnaissance survey of several sensitive spots in the capital city. As they were planning to execute a ‘fidayeen attack’ on the Chief Minister during one of his recent visits to the Kashmir University, Police and intelligence agencies got an inkling of the strike. Muzamil could not be traced immediately but his brother, Muntazar Amin Dar, who is a student of Masters in Commerce, was arrested by Sopore Police and passed on to Special Operations Group (SOG) Srinagar for sustained interrogation.

However, SOG failed to extract any significant information from Muntazar. According to the interrogators, Muntazar was a “hard core pro-Pakistani student” but did not have knowledge of his militant brother's guerrilla operations, including his plan to execute an attack on CM at the University campus. He was finally released today after Muzamil died in an encounter and a day after a group of students staged demonstrations and threatened to boycott classes in case the detained student was not set free.

Sources said that while tracking Muzamil and two Pakistani cadres of LeT, Police and security forces received information of the LeT Divisional Commander’s presence in Shalpora locality of Sopore, some 300 yards behind Police Station on Sopore-Bandipore road, in the afternoon on Saturday. Sopore Police, alongwith CRPF 179 Bn and Rashtriya Rifles 22 Bn, laid siege to the locality and began a cordon-and-search operation. During the initial stage of the operation, two militants hiding in a residential house opened fire from an AK-47 rifle and lobbed two grenades.

A CRPF constable sustained injuries. Police and security forces maintained a tight cordon and stormed the identified hideout in the forenoon today. Dy SP of SOG Sopore, Riyaz Ahmad Tantray, had a providential escape as he was hit straight in his forehead. His bullet-proof headgear neutralized the brunt. Thereafter, Police and troops brought down the target house with IEDs, killing both the holed up militants. Their dead bodies were recovered from the debris late in the afternoon.

Sources participating in the operation said that one AK-47 rifle and two Chinese pistols were recovered from the spot. They said that collateral damage was restricted to only three personnel getting injured. Sources identified one of them as ASI Kafil Ahmad of Sopore Police and another as Naik Gurjan Singh of RR 22 Bn.

GOC of Kilo Force, Lt Gen Sarat Chand, Commander of Army’s Watlab-based Sector-5, Brig J.P. Mathews, Commanding Officer of RR 22 Bn, Col Bikram Saini, SP Sopore, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, and other officers supervised the 24-hour-long operation.

IGP Kashmir, S.M. Sahai, visited Sopore immediately after both the militants got killed. According to an official press release, he told mediapersons police intervention party stormed into the target house after nightlong siege of some houses in the morning toda. He said that ASI Kafil Ahmad of Sopore Police and Naik Gurjan Singh of 22 RR got injured.
“In the ensuing gunfight that lasted for several hours two militants of LET got killed who were identified as Muzamil Amin Dar alias Hashaam alias Urfi alias Usman S/o Mohammad Amin Dar R/o Badambagh Sopore; Divisional Commander LeT, and Abdullah Shaheen resident of Pakistan”, IGP said. He added that Hashaam was wanted in several terrorist acts, including the killing of SPO Reyazul Hassan Tantray S/o Ghulam Hassan Tantray R/o Brath Kalan on September 8th this year.

IGP said that Muzamil’s name also figured in the investigation of a bomb blast in Delhi in which two persons from Sopore, namely Ehtisham Malik and Tauseef Ahmad Peer, were arrested by Delhi Police in February 2012. IGP said that Muzamil alias Hashaam had gone underground in hometown Sopore immediately after the arrest of his associates by Delhi Police.

Sources said that Muzamil had planned and executed a number of strikes, including the murder of SPO Reyazul Hassan Tantray. He had gunned down the SPO at his home last month. Before going underground, Muzamil had completed the paramedical Theatre Assistant course from Khanam’s Hospital and had been engaged on contractual basis by the state Health Department. According to official records, he had remained closely associated with the most dreaded Pakistani commander of LeT, Abdullah Uni, who died in an encounter with Police and forces last year. He also worked with Uni’s successors Akash Badar and Fahadullah, both Pakistani nationals.

Reports from Sopore said that Abdullah Shaheen’s dead body was buried in a graveyard reserved for unidentified foreign militants at Dangiwacha in Rafiabad. Muzamil’s body was buried in a local graveyard in Sopore. Reports said that Sopore township observed shutdown but just 400 people, including about 100 women, participated in the funeral. Traders have called for three days shutdown over Muzamil’s death in the gunbattle.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hotel shootout toll reaches 2 as Lolab youth succums at SKIMS

LeT militant Muzamil alias Hashaam trapped in Sopore

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 20: With the death of one more civilian, toll of Friday’s ‘fidayeen-type’ attack at Hotel Silver Star has reached two today. Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba’s top wanted militant in Sopore area, Muzamil Amin Dar, is believed to have got trapped after his associates lobbed grenades and fired upon a search party of Police and CRPF in the north Kashmir apple town.

Authoritative sources told Early Times that Anees Ahmad Wani S/o Habibullah Wani R/o Divar Anderbug, Lolab, Kupwara, succumbed to injuries at SKIMS today. As already reported, he had sustained critical injuries in yesterday’s shootout at Hotel Silver Star on the National Highway Bypass at 4.30 p.m. Farooq Ahmad Bhat S/o Ghulam Nabi Bhat R/o Luryar, Tral, had died on the spot and one more civilian had got hit in his hand. All the were staffers of the Hotel.

Meanwhile, informed sources said that Police and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation on a tip off in Shalapora locality of Sopore at 3.30 p.m. today. The operation began minutes after Police received information that two to three militants of LeT were present at their hideout about 300 yards in the backside of Police Station Sopore.

Sources associated with the operation told Early Times over telephone from the cordoned locality that militants fired a couple of gunshots and lobbed two hand grenades when the house-to-house search operation was underway. One CRPF personnel sustained minor injuries. However, rather than intense retaliation, Police went for evacuation of the entire civilian population. It took more than three hours.

Sources said that LeT’s top wanted militant in Sopore, Muzamil Amin Dar alias Hashaam, was believed to have got trapped alongwith one of his local associates at his hideout. Police zeroed in on a cluster of four residential houses and maintained tight siege around it. Officials said that Police and CRPF would continue the cordon for the whole night and storm the suspected hideout in the morning tomorrow. However, if holed up, militants could attempt to escape from the cordon area during the night with the advantage of darkness.

According to official sources, Muzamil used to work as a Theatre Assistant in the State Health Department and he went underground only after his associates were arrested by Delhi Police from Jkarkhand last year. He was believed to be a key member of the group. Current year’s reports suggested that Muzamil was operating in Sopore area in coordination of two top functionaries of the organisation. Muzafar alias Muz Maulvi and a Pakistani commander of LeT, Fahadullah, were suspected to be guiding him from the top.

Sources said that in the past, Police and security forces had recovered some arms and ammunition from Muzamil’s residential house.

However, hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani has described Muzamil as a non-militant civilian and claimed that he went underground following continuous Police raids on his home. He alleged that Police had now detained Muzamil’s brother who was an M Com student with University of Kashmir. Reports said that his class students observed a boycott to the studies and staged a demonstration while calling for his immediate release on Saturday.