Top wanted Hizb militant killed in Kulgam encounter
One militant escapes as residents disrupt Army’s operation with stones and slogans
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz______
JAMMU, March 6: In three days of killing three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan group in Dadsar village of Tral, Police and security forces on Sunday killed another top wanted militant even as his accomplice escaped when residents disrupted the operation while shouting slogans and pelting stones.
Informed sources said that Army, CRPF and units of Special Operations Group (SOG) of Kulgam District Police launched a cordon-and-search operation on Sunday evening at Buchroo, in Kulgam, after learning about the presence of two local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen at a hideout. While the encounter began, a number of the residents gathered and attempted to disrupt the operation with slogans and stones. Police and CRPF dealt with the crowds with baton charge and firing of tear gas canisters.
Even as one militant managed to escape, forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen’s top wanted militant Dawood Sheikh of Rishipora, Qaimoh. His body along with one AK-47 rifle, was recovered and subsequently handed over to his family members for last rites. Residents of Qaimoh told STATE TIMES that the slain militant’s burial would be conducted after funeral prayers on Monday.
DIG South Kashmir Nitish Kumar said that Dawood Sheikh, according to the Police records, had ambushed and shot dead retired Dy SP Bashir Ahmad Dar near his home at Ashmuji village on July 14, 2015. He had also shot dead head constable Gowhar Ahmad Matoo, resident of Ganjipora, on July 16, 2014. Matoo was posted in 162/ Territorial Army. Dawood had also allegedly killed Haji Gul Mohammad Bhat near his home at Wanpoh village on May 28, 2014. Bhat was Deputy Sarpanch of Panchayat Halqa, Wanpoh.
A middle-rank Police officer said that Sheikh had associated himself with Hizbul Mujahideen in 2012-13 when he was a regular student of Degree College Anantnag. On the basis of certain evidences, Police had booked him in some cases but the court bailed him out in all cases. Subsequently, he went underground.
With Sunday’s operation in Kulgam, Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan group has lost four of its militants in the last four days in South Kashmir.
Late night reports from Kulgam said that the authorities could impose restrictions for fear of a thick funeral congregation as Dawood Sheikh hailed from the hub of Jamaat-e-Islami, which, for years, recognised Hizbul Mujahideen as its armed wing.