Hizb comdr among 3 militants killed

Security personnel at the site of encounter at Wachi, Shopian on Monday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Security personnel at the site of encounter at Wachi, Shopian on Monday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

SPO who stole 8 weapons from ex- MLA’s house shot dead

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, Jan 20: Security forces today killed three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen including a top commander and former Special Police Officer (SPO), who stole eight weapons from house of then legislator, in Shopian district of South Kashmir.
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Security forces including 55 RR of Army and Shopian Police today cordoned off Wachi area of Shopian district after inputs about presence of a group of militants. During the cordon, militants fired on troops leading to a gun battle in which three militants were killed.
They have been identified as Wasim Ahmad Wani, district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen of Uripora Nagbal in Shopian; Adil Ahmad Shiekh of Zainapora Shopian and Hidayatullah Malik of Sharadpora Shopian.  However, when the body of Malik was taken to Sharadpora, the family refused to take body saying that he is not their son but is Amir Ahmad Dar of Bemnipora Shopian. The body has now been taken to Bemnipora.
Adil Sheikh, the former SPO, stole 7 rifles and one pistol from the house of then legislator Aijaz Ahmad Mir’s official residence in Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar to join Hizbul Mujahideen.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) Victor Force Major General Anandiya Sen Gupta told a news conference that these militants were making movements near the army camp in Shopian area and troops were tracking them.
“Today they were spotted and shot dead in a brief gun battle”, he said.
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh, described killing of three militants as a major success.  ”In Shopian today, another major success of this year was achieved in which three militants have been killed. The trio has enormous criminal and terror record”, he told a press conference.
Singh said that the Commander, Wasim Ahmad Wani, who has also been killed, was active since 2017. “He was killed along with Adil Shiekh and another one”, he said.
“Wasim was involved in many terrorist acts while being a part of Hizbul Mujahideen and there were a total of 19 FIRs against him so far. He was also involved in the killing of four civilians and an equal number of policemen”, Singh said.
“The civilians who were killed are: Gowhar Ahmad Dar, Hurpora Shopian, Nadeem Manzoor, Ilyas Khan and Zahid Khan. So, Wasim was responsible for the killing of eight people. Adil Bashir was also his accomplice with regard to carrying out these killings”, the DGP said.
“He is the same person who fled from the residence of MLA Aijaz Ahmad Wachi from Jawahar Nagar Srinagar while taking away the weapons which included 7 AK-47 rifles and one pistol on 29th September 2018 and since then he was active with the Hizb”, he said.
“The eradication of this group from Shopian belt can go a long way. The civilians who were killed, their families are going to get some relief after the killing of these militants”, Singh said.

DGP Dilbag Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel
DGP Dilbag Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar.

The DGP said that it was a successful operation. “Few days ago Hamaad Khan was killed along with his two aides, one more was arrested alive; five operating the terror module of JeM were also apprehended. So, in a way the start of 2020 has been quite good with we being able to eradicate those who were spreading terror among the local population”, he said.
The Police chief said that Hizb is on the verge of extinction in South Kashmir as the operations are gathering the pace.
With regard to DySP Devinder Singh, the DGP said whatever comes to the fore, will be thoroughly investigated no matter how old the issue is. Anything old or new can be the part of the investigation.
With regard to the communication gag, he said there are chances that people will get some respite in coming days.”We are aware that people are facing great inconvenience”, he added.
Regarding the de-radicalization centres as put forth by the Chief of Defence Services General Bipin Rawat, Singh said: “if such a thing comes up in Kashmir, it is surely going to be a good sign and that kind of thing should be welcomed.”
On taking over of Srinagar, Jammu and Leh Airports, Singh said that the process was already on and arrest of Devinder Singh has nothing to do with it. “I think the aspect of mistrust should be removed from the mind. One should not worry about it.  This has been under discussion for last one year that the Airports of Jammu and Srinagar has to be taken over by the CISF.  Their teams arrived five months back who made the assessment regarding their deployment.  They again visited some months back and made assessments regarding the number of personnel they would require.  So the case of mistrust doesn’t arise.  It was an ongoing process and if CISF takes over the security of the Airports we would welcome it as they are performing their duties with us. If they would require support from our side anywhere we would be happy to help.  Except a few airports the CISF looks after the security of all the airports as their expert domain. There is no harm in improving the security of anything”, he added.
On investigations into the arrest of Devinder Singh, the DGP said that the case has been transferred to NIA and it would not be appropriate to talk about it. “The things which have come to forth are with the investigating agency. They have separately registered cases in those things. It would not be appropriate to talk about the things. But whatever has come forth are encouraging”, he added.
He said that based on the investigation, security forces have launched a follow up operations. “I would say after his arrest some movement happened and that was the reason some of the successful operations emerged from the areas. We were also able to bust two big hideouts. The hideouts were without militants but we have recovered several things from the places.  The CASOs have also been intensified in view of movement of militants. I think the successful operation would continue”, he added.
Dilbag said that Devinder has met his fate and no one will be spared. “I don’t think the arrest of such person who is involved in such activities should be painful to anyone. If he has done anything wrong he has met his fate. Whether it is Devinder or the SPOs or Army person who fled with weapons no one would be spared. A person who acts against the law is our enemy and had to be strictly dealt with”, he asserted.
And militants this evening hurled a grenade on the security forces at Newa in South Kashmir district of Pulwama. However, no one was injured in the attack.
Security forces today conducted search operations at multiple places in Baramulla district of South Kashmir. The operations were launched by Baramulla Police, 46 RR of Army and 53rd Batallion of CRPF at Khanpora Baramulla, General Bus Stand, Subzi Market, Main Chowk Baramulla and Tawheed Gunj Baramulla.