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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Militants attack ex-Minister’s house in Pulwama; rifle taken away from ex-MLC’s house

Srinagar additional DC’s jaw fractured in stone pelting; SPO among 4 booked under PSA

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 28: Mounting their attacks on mainstream politicians and looting weapons from their security guards in South Kashmir, suspected militants on Wednesday attacked.former Minister and PDP leader Syed Bashir’s residence in Pulwama district hours after a civilian decamped with the AK-47 rifle of a Constable from the house of former MLC and CPI State Secretary Abdul Rehman Tukroo in Shopian district.

Official sources told STATE TIMES that around 8.00 pm, three to four unidentified militants appeared outside the guarded residence of former Minister Syed Bashir at Sheikhhaar, on Pulwama-Rajpora Road. They fired a warning shot to test if the politicians’ guards would retaliate or surrender. The sentries responded with firing. The militants fired back but the guards foiled their attempt to enter the premises with intense firing. It forced the militants to withdraw.

It was not clear whether the assailants intended to cause any harm to the former Minister, who was present inside, or just planned to snatch away service rifles from his sentries and PSOs. Police and security forces later cordoned the area and carried out a search operation. However, they failed to learn anything about the militants’ whereabouts.

Syed Bashir is a senior mainstream politician who contested 1977 Assembly elections on Janata Party ticket from Pulwama and 1996 Assembly election as Janata Dal candidate from the same segment. He lost both. In 2002, he won the Assembly election on PDP’s ticket from Rajpora segment and was inducted as Minister of State for Education by then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Later he also held R&B portfolio as MoS. In 2008, he was again elected on PDP ticket from Rajpora. However, in 2014 he broke away from PDP and contested unsuccessfully as an independent candidate against PDP’s candidate Haseeb Drabu who won and was subsequently inducted as Minister of Finance.

Early in the morning on Wednesday, one Waseem Khandey of Zakhan Kellar, in Shopian district, decamped with an AK-47 rifle of a PSO of CPI State chief and former MLC Abdul Rehman Tukroo from his guarded house at Tukroo on Pulwama-Shopian Road. Khandey, who had free access to Tukroo’s house, happens to be the brother-in-law of his son. Tukroo said that he had been working at his home for some days. Sources said that another PSO had kept his rifle in safe custody.

Officials said that Police and security forces were trying to trace Khandey who could hand over the AK-47 rifle to militants. A late night report, awaiting official confirmation, said that Khandey was traced in the same district and seized alongwith the stolen AK-47 rifle.

In Pulwama district, Police have arrested and booked under Public Safety Act four persons of Kareemabad village, including a Special Police Officer Mohammad Rafi Pandit, on charges of organising separatist demonstrations and stone pelting. Sources said that Police also arrested four boys below the age of 16 years on the same charges in the same village who have been lodged in a juvenile jail.

Militants and their unarmed overground helpers have already looted around 100 weapons from different Police Stations, residences and PSOs of different protected persons in South Kashmir. Most of these people have handed over their weapons to suspected militants and their helpers without any resistance.

It has been observed that Police officers have also provided scores of house guards and PSOs with automatic rifles to a number of timber smugglers masquerading as mainstream politicians for pecuniary interests. One of such persons from whose house suspected militants took away four rifles last month at Begam village in Kulgam has been publicly disowned by both National Conference as well as PDP.

Additional DC attacked

Official sources said that a group of people disrupting traffic with intense stone pelting near Tengpora Batmaloo attacked the Scorpio carrying home a Kashmir Administrative Service officer and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Nazir Ahmad Baba in the evening on Tuesday. Baba was hit by a stone which fractured his jaw. His vehicle was also damaged in the attack. He was rushed to Bemina and admitted in SKIMS Medical College. 

Sources said his PSOs did not use weapobs as additional DC of Ramban and his PSO have been booked in a criminal matter and arrested when a similar crowd attacked the KAS officer's vehicle near Awantipora in July and two persons got killed in a PSO's firing. Baba lives near Zainakote on Srinagar outskirts.

Divisional Commissioner, Baseer Ahmad Khan, and DC Srinagar, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone, who visited the injured officer at his hospital today, said that Mr Baba was recovering after treatment. They said that his jaw had got fractured. Early in the morning on the same day, a 20-year-old girl, namely Fauzia, died and her 18-year-old sister, Nadia, was critically injured when they were knocked down near Parimpora, on Srinagar outskirts, by a private Scorpio while its driver was subjected to intense stone pelting by miscreants and he was driving back in the reverse gear.

Scores of vehicles were reportedly damaged in similar stone pelting in Srinagar and elsewhere for defying the separatists’ shutdown call on Tuesday and Wednesday. Around 90 people have died in 82 days of unceasing turbulence in Kashmir following Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter on July 8. Most of them got killed in firing by Police and security forces. While as four policemen also died in the crowd attacks, five civilians including Fauzia got killed as a consequence of stone pelting.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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