Militant attack in Sopore, civilian killed; CRPF man martyred

SHO Sopore takes child to safety after his grandfather was killed at Model Town Sopore on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
SHO Sopore takes child to safety after his grandfather was killed at Model Town Sopore on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Kid sitting on dead grandfather’s chest goes viral
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 1: Militants this morning attacked security forces in Sopore area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district in which one CRPF jawan was martyred and two injured while a 65-year old man from Srinagar was also killed.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar today said that Lashkar-e-Toiba militants who were hiding in a mosque carried out the attack at a CRPF naka party at Model Town Sopore that led to the death of a CRPF man and a civilian while minor boy was rescued.
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The IGP said there was no retaliation from the security forces’ side and it was later found that militants had left behind one full magazine and another one from which 30 bullets were used in the premises of a local mosque.
The IGP told a press conference in Srinagar that this morning when CRPF men were de-boarding from the vehicle to be part of joint Naka party at Model town Sopore, two militants hiding in the mosque, fired indiscriminately at the CRPF men in which one CRPF man martyred and three others were injured. “A civilian also was hit by bullets and died later,” Kumar said.
He said the attack was carried out by two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants that include a foreign militant Usman Bhai and a local militant Adil. “They fired 30 bullets as was evident from the magazine recovered from the mosque premises. Another magazine was also recovered which was full,” the IGP said.
He said police men rescued a three-year-old boy who was accompanying his grandfather. “We have observed that wherever the civilian movement is more, militants are carrying out attacks to trigger law and order issues and disturbances,” he said. The IGP Kashmir said that he deliberately didn’t close the internet services in Sopore just to see how people would behave.
“The vedio message circulated on social media by the son and daughter of the slain man is totally baseless. They have levelled allegations under militant threat,” the IGP said. “I want to ask them whether they were present at the site of the incident. Did they see themselves who fired? They circulated video messages blaming forces of killing their father from Srinagar, which is totally baseless”, he added.
He said if there is any eye-witness, let them come forward, “we will accordingly act.” He said there was no retaliation at all from the security forces side. “The search in the area is on to nab the attackers. We have not called off the search operation,” he said.

Asked how the pictures of the boy being “rescued by the police went viral” when there was no public movement at the time of the incident, he said police rescued the boy who was nearby the body of his grandfather. “Going to the operation area with mobiles is wrong. I will ensure police teams going for the operation don’t carry mobiles along as that may pose threat to their lives. In 2018, many security forces personnel got killed while using their mobiles during duty hours, in standoff attacks,” he said.
The killed civilian has been identified as Bashir Ahmed Khan, 65, from HMT Srinagar. Family members said that he took his grandson along early this morning from Srinagar to Sopore area where he was supposed to oversee the progress of a construction work at one of his projects.
His grandson had a miraculous escape. The little boy identified as Ayaad, 3, could be seen sitting on the chest of his grandfather in one of the pictures that went viral on social media, which shook entire Kashmir and made every eye moist. He was perhaps trying to wake up his dead grandfather unmindful of the reality that his grandfather is dead.
Another picture that went viral shows a security forces man asking the little boy come towards him.
Police men provided him a bunch of chocolates and rolls of biscuits to ensure he doesn’t cry much and come out of the shock.
At the HMT, Srinagar his son alleged that his father was killed by the security men. “He had gone to Sopore to oversee construction work and had left his home at 6 a.m. There was shoot out and he was fired at by CRPF. My father was dragged out of his vehicle and fired at”, he said.
“My father has been killed and those who killed him should be killed as well. Didn’t they see a little kid along with my father,” cried his daughter.
The CRPF in a brief statement said that when deployment of their men was being made at model town Sopore for patrolling duties, militants hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque fired indiscriminately on troops, resulting in the injuries to the four CRPF men of which Head Constable Dipchand Verma got killed and other three Bhoya Rajesh, Deepak Patil and Nilesh Chawde sustained injuries. “One civilian died on the spot in militant act,” the statement read.
And militants today slipped out of cordon at Bilalabad area of Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district after security forces last evening cordoned off the area following inputs about presence of militants in the area.
After exchange of fire between security forces and militants last night, search operation continued in the area till this afternoon. However, no contact wasn’t established with the militants.
An official said that a joint team of Police, Army’s 42 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation on specific information about the presence of militants in the area last night at around 10 pm.
He said that as the joint team of forces approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon them which was retaliated triggering an encounter.
After exchange of fire, search operation was conducted in the area. However, it was called off this afternoon, as militants had managed to give a slip to the security forces.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, today while detailing the successes achieved by security forces this year against militants said that 12 top commanders of various militant outfit are on their hit list and their movement is being tracked to ensure they are eliminated as soon as possible.
The IGP said that 12 top commanders are on the police radar, whose movement is being tracked so that they are eliminated soon. “The 12 commanders include Dr Saifullah of Hizb and Lamboo Bhai of Jaish, who is expert in IED making. Besides, Gazi Rashid, who is new Jaish Chief in Kashmir, and is hiding in Khrew area of Pulwama, is also on our radar,” he told a press conference here.
The IGP said that 118 militants were killed this year while 67 joined militancy from January to June compared to 129 last year during this period. He said that 24 new recruits have already been killed in encounters and rest are active.
Kumar said local militant recruitment went down this year by 48 per cent. He said that among the 67 new recruits, 24 were killed, 12 arrested and rest are active. He urged parents to appeal their children to return back. “We promise we will facilitate their return and won’t lodge any case against them,” he said.
About the Narco trade, IGP said this has a militancy link as funds are directly being given to the militants. “So far 304 cases have been registered and 500 people involved in this have been arrested. Heroin worth Rs 200 Crore has been seized and cash Rs 1.37 Crore seized as well. Besides huge quantity of poppy, fuki, and other drugs that include injections, tablets and syrups have been recovered,” he added. (PTI)