SMHS Attack: The Complete Story

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SRINAGAR: Militants mounted an attack in the Out Patients Department (OPD) of Srinagar’s premier Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital and took away one of their detained colleagues. Two cops injured in the attack later died in the same hospital where they had escorted the detained militant for a medical check-up.

The militant who was taken away by his colleagues was identified as Naveed Jath. The two slain cops were head constable Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Karnah and Babar Ahmad, a resident of Brari Angan belt of Shangus in south Kashmir.

SMHS Attack

Militants mounted an attack on a police party escorting a detained rebel to the SMHS for medical check-up. Two cops were killed in the attack. Watch this short film

Posted by Kashmir Life on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

“The attack was quick and well planned,” a senior police officer admitted. “It seemed they knew that the militant is being escorted for a check-up, as soon as they reached and started seeking the OPD ticket, the raid was mounted and it happened so quickly.”

The police officer said that the militant, was taken away with his handcuffs on and witnesses said once freed, the militants also fired on the police party.

Witnesses who spoke to Kashmir Life on record said the incident took place at around 11:30 am. They fired a gunshot near ward No 15 and then many more bullets near Tele Medicine Centre.

“I was outside medicine department when policemen with a person wearing handcuffs were moving in towards the hospital,” the eyewitness said. “And suddenly I heard the sound of gunshots. I was so scared to hear the sound. It was scarier to see a blood ridden body lying near the dustbin on the floor. The blood was flowing down on the tiles.”

“I was moving towards emergency wards, suddenly I heard the sound of gunshots and in the meantime, I tried to escape to take shelter,” another official who was around said. “I saw two militants running out from the OPD towards the main gate and there was a lot of blood lying on the floor,” the eyewitness said.

One of the doctors in the hospital said that it was a terrifying moment for him when he heard gunshots inside the premises of the hospital. “Life is dear to everyone, so all the people were in rush to save themselves from being hit by the bullets,” the doctor said. “We still feel disturbed and are yet to get over it.”

The militant operation was quick. It was all over in less than five minutes. By the time, the reinforcements reached the spot; the attackers had fled with their colleague.

“It was a planned attack and firing was from suspected militants not part of the detainees who were brought in for check up, “ Ghulam Hassan Bhat, DIG Central Kashmir told reporters. “Naveed did not fire.” Naveed, Bhat said, was “referred for treatment ‘’ to the government-run hospital and the group of six detainees was accompanied by five police station in-charge and 18 other policemen. “It is not a (security) lapse,” he said. Naveed has taken away the assault rifle of one of the cops escorting him.

Prison Department Enquiry

A spokesman of the Prisons Department said six prisoners of Central Jail Srinagar were referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar for a medical check-up by the doctor of Central Jail Srinagar. These included Seeratul Hassan, son of Mohammad Illyas, a resident of Malaratha Srinagar; Abdul Ahad Rather son of Abdul Gani, a resident of Tarzoo Sopore; Mohammad Naveed Jhat, son of Mohammad Haneef, a resident of Multan Pakistan; Mohamad Khalil Najar, son of Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Goos Satapora, Arif Ahmad Sheikh, son of Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Parimpora Srinagar and   Bashir Ahmad Salay, son of Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Baramulla.

“One nursing orderly of Central Jail Srinagar accompanied the prisoners with medical records,” the spokesman said. “The escort party was deputed by Police from DPL Srinagar. It is reported by Police Station Karan Nagar that militants fired on the escorting party of J&K Police. One prisoner Mohd Naveed Jhat S/o Mohd Haneef R/o Multan Pakistan managed to escape from the custody of the escort party. DGP Prisons ordered internal enquiry which will be conducted by the DIG Prisons and who will submit a report immediately.”

Who Was Naveed

On June 20, 2014, the then DIG South Kashmir Vijay Kumar told reporters that they “achieved a major success” by arresting deputy of Lashkar-e-Toiba chief commander, abu Qasim, in Kulgam. It was a joint operation of Kulgam police, 62 Rashtriya Rifles of Army and 18 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Naveed Jat alias Abu Hanzullah, a Pakistani militant, was Qasim’s Deputy and was arrested from a hideout in Sharmpora village.

A resident of Sahiwala, Multan Pakistan, Kumar said, they recovered an AK-47 rifle, 2 AK-47 magazines, 60 AK-47 rounds and one pouch from his possession. “He was operating in South Kashmir for the last two years and was involved in the killing of an ASI in Pulwama last year and a CRPF man in Shopian besides snatching of two weapons from them, killing of two policemen near the District Court complex, Pulwama this year and the recent firing on a police party at Shopian in which five police personnel were injured,” Kumar was quoted saying.

The arrest had come within days after Naveed had a meeting with his boss, abu Qasim on June 8, in which he was told to conduct an inquiry into the killing of the two militants: Bilal Ahmad Bhat alias Bilal Lelhari, and his associate, Mudasir Sheikh, in an encounter at Reshipora, in district Pulwama on June 7. Kumar had said that Naveed was operating in South Kashmir since July 7, 2012, after his year-long stint in Lolab.

A son of a truck driver, Naveed belonged to a family with modest income. He had told his interrogators that his exact residential address was Check No 421 Boruhwala in Veheri district of Multan.

Slain Cops

A police spokesman said the slain Head-Constable Mushtaq Ahmad was resident of Dildar Karnah and Constable Babar Ahmad Khan lived in Shangus Achabal.

Mushtaq is survived by the wife and an adopted minor daughter about 10 years old. Babar is survived by wife, two daughters (aged 3 and 2 years old), father, 4 brothers and one unmarried sister.

A police officer said the coffin of Babar has reached home and hopefully, his funeral prayers will be over tonight. However, they had no report if the body of Mushtaq reached his Dildar residence in Karnah. “We are unable to get the area on phone,” the officer said.

Searches

Police said they have launched a serious manhunt to re-arrest Naveed. Apart from scanning certain areas around the hospital, police said, there were searches in certain city areas and these will intensify in coming days.

Police officers carry a coffin containing the body of their colleague Mushtaq Ahmad at the police headquarters in Srinagar, Tuesday, February. 6, 2018. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Entire police and civil administration were present at the wreath-laying event conducted in the police control room Srinagar. Initially, it was suggested that Mushtaq was seriously injured. But within minutes he succumbed to his injuries. As the police were busy in the wreath laying of Mushtaq, Babar also breathed his last. ADG Kashmir, Munir Ahmad Khan led to wreath laying of Mushtaq and later of Babbar. The entire top brass of the police was present. Emotional scenes were witnssed at the wreath laying event.

Condemnations

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has condemned the killing of two policemen at SMHS Hospital where they were carrying a detainee to a medical check-up. In her message, a spokesman of the Chief Minister said, she described the incident as an act of cowardice which ought to be condemned by one and all. She has conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families of the two cops.

“Two J&K policemen killed by terrorists inside Srinagar’s premier hospital,” former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted. “Heartfelt condolences to the families of Constables Mushtaq & Bab.”

(Arif Shah contributed to this report)

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