Police vehicle torched by mob in Sopore after death of Hizb ‘Div Commdr’ in Kupwara
‘Militants’ loot AK-56 rifle from BJP leader’s home in Chadoura
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jun 28: Crowds in Sopore-Kupwara belt of northern Kashmir on Tuesday shouted pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans, clashed with forces and torched a Police vehicle after a “Divisional Commander” of Hizbul Mujahideen got killed in an encounter with Army in Kupwara area.
Official sources said that Sameer Ahmad Wani alias Jana of Dooru Sopore died in an encounter with security forces at Nagri in Drugmulla area of Kupwara in the morning on Tuesday. One Chinese pistol was recovered from his possession. Sources said that jana had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 2014 and he had been designated as a “Divisional Commander”.
Immediately after learning about Jana’s death, hundreds of residents in Sopore and its peripheries took to the streets while shouting anti-India, pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans. People from Dooru rushed to Kupwara in a cavalcade of seven vehicles and equal number of motorcycles and collected Jana’s body. On returning to Sopore, they resorted to stone pelting at Kupwara and shouted slogans.
Handwara Police intercepted a bigger cavalcade of the residents of Sopore which was proceeding towards Kupwara. According to SP Handwara, 85 people were detained and disallowed to head for Kupwara. Reports said that they were subsequently let off.
A crowd in Shiva village attacked a Police vehicle, Ruby-407, that was carrying a detainee from Bandipore to Kupwara for his attendance in court. SP Sopore Harmeet Singh told STATE TIMES that the party of Bandipore Police abandoned the vehicle and fled to a local Police Station alongwith the detenu. The crowd set the vehicle on fire and destroyed it.
The slain militant was buried at his village in presence of a thick gathering that shouted anti-India, pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans. Reports said that residents clashed with Police and paramilitary forces at several places.
Meanwhile, reports from Budgam said that a group of six suspected militants appeared at the residence of a BJP leader and decamped with the service rifle of his PSO.
SSP Budgam Fayaz Ahmad Lone told STATE TIMES that he visited the spot and ordered an enquiry as to how the rifle had been snatched away and who were involved in the incident. He said that a defeated candidate of BJP, Abdul Rehman Chopan and his PSP Constable Bashir Ahmad maintained that ‘militants’ had snatched away the rifle and decamped on a motorcycle.
Chopan and his PSO told Police that six unidentified youngsters appeared at Panzan, on Budgam-Chadoura Road, ostensibly for meeting the BJP leader. However, one of them took out a pistol and directed the inmates to hand over the PSO’s gun. Initially they refused but gave in when the ‘militants’ warned that they would open fire if the PSO’s gun was not handed over to them. Thereupon Chopan’s family surrendered the AK-56 rifle to the ‘militants’. Inmates maintained that four ‘militants’ escaped towards a hillock and two of them fled on a motorcycle.
The PSO was not present on duty when the unidentified men barged in and took away his rifle.
Mr Lone said that Police were investigating the matter as they suspected some amiss in the whole story. He pointed out that several people in the past had used the same tactics in an attempt to get themselves incorporated as protected persons or attract more PSOs from Police. “We are investigating the matter. We will take appropriate action in the matter after it becomes clear whether militants had really appeared at Chopan’s house and taken away his PSO’s gun.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]