by Saima Bhat
SRINAGAR: The killing spree in Kashmir continued on Tuesday. It started with a pre-dawn encounter in a Shopian village in which four Hizbul Mujaheedin militants, one para-commando of the Army were killed and ended with the killing of a Hurriyat’s active member in Achabal by unknown gunmen.
Somewhere around 10 to 10.30 am, a black colour Alto stopped near the house of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district president Islamabad Hafeez Mir, 50.
“Two masked men come out of the car as the driver remained in the car and when they saw my father they fired on his head directly, ”Mir’s eldest daughter, Umesha Mir, a class 8th student told reporters. She is witness to the killing of her father.
“At least 5 or 6 bullets were fired at him and all of them were aimed at his head,” said one of the doctors in the district hospital, where Mir was driven almost instantly. “After firing on my father, I saw them aiming at my youngest brother who is in the class nursery but I don’t know how I got the strength to hit them and raise an alarm. They fled away,” said Umesha.
Mir was fired upon just outside his old single storey house, that is on the main road in Budroo, Achabal. He was constructing a new house just behind his old house. Reportedly he was on road that time.
At the age of 14, Mir had joined Jamiat-e-Talba and in 1987 MUF elections he was an active member from his hometown. One of his close relatives informed Kashmir Life that he was arrested for two days and lodged in Sheerbagh police station. In early 90’s he crossed over to another side for arms training and when he returned he joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant group. In 1995, he was arrested from the house of Abdul Salam Reshi, a PDP member, in Akingam. Soon after he was shifted to different jails till 1996 when he was released.
Once home he started teaching in a local private school in Srinagar. Meanwhile, he was arrested again by police and then released. But he continued with teaching till 2002, when Tehreek-e-Hurriyat was formed. He joined it and in 2006 he was elevated to the position of district president till today.
“In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016 unrests, he was the main leader from the south Kashmir as a result of which he was arrested and then booked under PSA,” one relative said. “In total, he must have spent 14 years in jail.” Mir was released only two months before he was killed.
On November 13, 2018, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat in a statement alleged that its District President Anantnag (Hafizullah Mir) has been receiving threatening calls from unknown numbers, which put him and his family under fear and threat. Geelani had suggested him to migrate but Mir refused to do so, reports said.
Mir is survived by his wife, who fainted after his killing and injured her head in the fall, and four children including daughter Umesha Mir (13), Mir Abul Jibran, 6, Mir Abdullah, 11 and Mir Abdul Kalam, 9.
Joint Resistance Leadership has strongly reacted to the killing of Hurriyat activist in Achabal. They have called for a shutdown on November 22. Condemnations to the killing have come from almost every side of the separatist brotherhood.
In Shopian, four militants were killed in the pre-dawn encounter between militants and government forces in Nadigam area.
The police spokesperson informed that a joint team of Army’s 34RR, 23 PARA and SOG Shopian cordoned off Nadigam after having credible input about the presence of some militants in the area. As the joint team of forces intensified searches towards suspected spot the hiding militants fired upon government forces triggering an encounter.
The encounter took place in the house of Farooq Ahmad Ganai son of Abdul Ahad Ganai. His house got damaged in the encounter.
In the encounter, four militants were killed who belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. They were identified as Inam-ul-Haq, a resident of Motjan Shopian, Mehraj-u-din, a resident of Drawnee village of Shopian, Abid Nazir, a resident of Padarpora village of Shopian, and Basharat Nengroo, a resident of Chotigam village of Shopian district. A para commando identified as Vikas, from 23-Para, was also killed and two more sustained injuries in the encounter, who are being treated at Army Base Hospital Badami Bagh Srinagar.
After the encounter was over, the joint forces also took along the bodies and handed over them to DPL Shopian but took along the son, Irshad Ahmad Ganai, of the house owner. As the last reports came in he was not handed over to his family.
As the encounter was going on, the Internet services were suspended in the area. An official said that the decision was taken as a precautionary measure, to avoid untoward incidents like protests.
Following the killing of four local militants, the people mostly youth took to streets near the gunfight site and its adjoining areas. The police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area used tear smoke shells, pellets and some live ammunition to disperse the protesters resulting in injuries to eight people.
Among the injured were three females; two of them were referred to Srinagar hospital for specialised treatments. They included Minha Ahsan daughter of Mohammad Ahsan Shah, received a bullet injury in her abdomen and Rafia daughter of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, who received a bullet injury in her right thigh. But both of them are said to be stable now. Rest of the injured was taken to district hospital Shopian. Another girl Rafia Jan daughter of Ghulam Muhammad resident of Nadigam, also sustained a bullet injury in her thigh and was shifted to PHC Hermain Shopian for treatment.
Meanwhile, the body of killed militant Basharat Ahmad Nengroo was taken to his native locality and was kept in Eidgah Chotipora where he was offered three rounds of funeral payers by thousands of people. As his funeral prayers were over some unidentified militants appeared in the crowd and fired some shots in the air.
The body of militant Abid Nazir Chopan, a resident of Paderpora was brought at his native village and kept in the premises of Jamia Masjid Paderpora. He was also offered three rounds of funeral prayers by thousands of people. There, as well, some unidentified militants appeared in his funeral and fired some shots in the air.
The body of slain militant Inam ul Haq Malik was taken to his native village Motjan Shopian and was kept in local Eidgah where he was offered three rounds of funeral prayer by thousands of people. At his funeral, some unidentified militants reached on spot and fired some shot in the air.
While as the body of fourth slain militant Meraj ud din Najar was taken to his native village in Drawani and on way at Nagbal Zainapora, his first funeral prayer was offered and then his body was taken to his home. He was also offered with three back-to-back funeral prayers by thousands of people. After his burial, some unknown militants also came in and shot some fire in the air.
“The security forces on a credible input about the presence of militants in Nadigam area of District Shopian, launched a cordon and search operation in the predawn hours today.
As the search operation was going on, the search party was confronted with bullets fired by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the initial exchange of fire one army jawan identified as HC Vijay of 23 Para sustained injuries and was evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment where he succumbed.
In the ensuing encounter, four militants were eliminated and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The killed militants have been identified as Abid Nazir Chopan of Padarpora, Basharat Nengroo of Chotigam Shopian, Mehraj-ud-Din Najar of Drawni and Malik Zada Inam-ul-Haq of Mantujan Shopian.
They were affiliated with Hizbul Mujihideen outfit and were involved in “attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities in the area”. Incriminating materials including a huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated the investigation in the matter.
Police have requested the people to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.