Tikken Encounter: The Complete Story

by Saima Bhat

SRINAGAR: For the last few weeks, the news of a quick dawn encounter has become just the new routine. These “gun battles:” conclude well before people assemble at their family breakfast table.

On Saturday, however, an encounter took place in Tikken Batpora (Pulwama) in which two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed. On Friday one such encounter took place in Tral where one Jaish-e-Muhammad militant was killed.

Thousands of people participated in funeral prayer of slain militant Liaqat Munir in Pulwama village.

The gunfight began after a joint team of army’s 55RR, 180/183 BN CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) cordoned off Tikken village after getting specific information about the presence of some militants in the area.

As the mixed column of various counter-insurgent forces approached the suspected spot the hiding militants fired upon them triggering an encounter at 7.35 am in the house Ghulam Hassan Qazi, son of Abdul Gafar Qazi.

But after the exchange of initial fire, the militant duo came out of the house and were killed in the compound of the building.

Slain Militant Wajid UL Islam
Slain Militant Liyaqat Wani

The two slain militants were affiliated with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit. They were identified as a second generation militant Liaqat Munir Wani son of late Munir Ahmad Wani resident of Bello Dargund, Rajpora and Wajid ul Islam son of Muzaffar Ahmad Wani resident of Babhar of Pulwama district.

Before handing over the bodies to their respective families, the bodies were taken to DPL Pulwama, where locals resorted to stone pelting. Reportedly the police had resorted to teargas shelling. But the police have also filed an FIR 295/2018, under sector 307 RPC and 7/27 arms act, in the local police station related to the incident.

An orphan Liaqat, 20, was a BA second year student when he joined militant ranks on March 10, 2017. But one of his Facebook posts suggested he wished to join militancy prior to that. Reportedly he was persuaded by his relatives to return to his family. But then finally in 2017, he left home leaving behind his lone brother.

A status uploaded by slain militant Liyaqat on his facebook on January 9, 2016.

Liyaqat was only one year old when he lost his mother who according to his family suffered cardiac arrest due to continuous raids at her house as her husband, Munir Ahmed Wani, was a militant. He was also affiliated with militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and was active for eight years as the district commander.

Reportedly Liyaqat’s father had crossed over to another side of the line of control in 1989, for arms training and then he returned in 1991. After continuous raids by counter-insurgent forces, the family had migrated to other area but they returned after his killing in 1998 in Sointbug when Liyaqat was just two years old.

After becoming orphans, Liyaqat and his brother were living with their relatives. His brother is post graduate while Liyaqat was graduating when he joined militant ranks.

Reportedly five back to back funeral prayers were offered for Liyaqat by tens of thousands of mourners at his native village. His burial was delayed by an hour as one of his aunts had to come from Jammu, who had shifted there with durbar move.

Interestingly, the militants appeared on the scene, albeit at a distance. They gave him a gun salute from a nearby orchard but reportedly the militants did not come to the funeral procession.

Wani’s associate Wajid Ul Islam, who was also killed in today’s encounter had joined militancy on May 22, 2018. After passing his matriculation, Wajid was undergoing an Aalim course at Salfiya College, Batamaloo Srinagar. He was a Hafiz, a person who memorises the whole Quran. His father is a class IVth government employee. He was offered three funeral prayers and some of his associates had come to offer him a gun salute. He was buried at 3.15pm.

As per police, both the slain militants were involved in a series of attacks on “security establishments and many other civilian atrocities” in the area.

“Liyaqat was involved in a number of militant cases and prominent among them are FIR No 69/2017 under section 307, 336, 427 RPC, 3 PPD Act, ¾ Explosive Substance Act of Police Station Pulwama, 85/2018 under section 307, 427 RPC, 7/27 IA Act & 92/2018 under section 307 RPC, 7/27 IA Act of Police Station Rajpora,” the spokesman said.

“Arms and ammunition including AK and INSAS rifle and other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter. Pertinently the INSAS rifle seized from the encounter site was the same rifle which earlier militants had snatched from Murran, Pulwama leading to the registration of case FIR No 182/2018 at PS Pulwama,” said police spokesman.

Body of the slain militant Liyaqat during funeral procession.

After the encounter was over, a complete shutdown was observed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district to mourn the killings. The mobile internet services were also suspended in the district as ‘precautionary’ measure. All shops were closed in Pulwama town, Tral town, Rajpora and Kellar area of Shopain district after the encounter was over.

Reports said that emotional scenes were witnessed from the spot after the bodies of the slain duo were lifted towards their respective graveyards in Bello and Babhara area of Pulwama. The banners carrying the photographs of killed militants in the past few years were also waived in the funeral processions.

Police statement

A joint team of forces wee hours today launched a  cordon and search operation in Tikken area of District Pulwama based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area. As the search operation was going on, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.

In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Their identities are being ascertained.

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation in the instant matter.

The citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.


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