Six Hizb Militants, 2 Soldiers Among 12 Killed
1 January 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: Even as unidentified gunmen have eliminated four civilians in Kashmir valley on day one of the new year, security forces have shot dead half-a-dozen Kashmiri militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in Handwara and Pattan. In yet another gunbattle, militants have killed two soldiers and left four others wounded in Rafiabad locality of Baramulla district. Informed sources in north Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that, on a tip-off, troops of Rashtriya Rifles 21 Bn conducted a cordon-and-search operation at Machhipora village on Handwara-Zachaldara road, in Kupwara district. According to the information, a group of Hizbul Mujahideen militants were present in the village. During the operation, the holed up militants made an attempt to escape but security forces engaged them in a fierce gunbattle. Three militants died in the clash. They were identified as Mushtaq Ahmed Khan S-o Bashir Ahmed Khan, Abdul Majeed S-o Khizar Mohammad, residents of Badarhaar, and Nazir Ahmed Bhat of Machhipora. Three AK-56 rifles were recovered from their possession. Militants in ambush directed an attack on a convoy of RR 28 Bn at Chapdaji in Rafiabad locality of Baramulla district today. A 3-ton vehicle suffered extensive damage and two soldiers travelling in it died on spot. Four more soldiers sustained critical injuries and they were all rushed to hospital. Troops retaliated but militants escaped unhurt. Later this evening, troops of RR 30 Bn received a tip-off that the militants who had attacked the Army convoy in Chapdaji were hiding in a Rafiabad village. Security forces rushed to the spot and launched a cordon-and-search operation. Unconfirmed reports said that an encounter took place between the holed up militants and security forces. However, it was not clear whether any casualty occurred or not. Sources said that, on another tip-off, troops of RR 29 Bn and SOG Baramulla conducted a cordon-and-search operation at Darvesh Bagh, Kalsari, in Pattan area of Baramulla district today. During the search operation, a group of militants made an unsuccessful attempt to escape. However, troops fixed them in a fierce gunfight which left three local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen killed. They were identified as Ghulam Rasool Bhat alias Shahid S-o Abdul Jabbar Bhat R-o Vailo Kralpora, Abdul Majeed Marazi alias Attaullah alias Asif Iqbal S-o Ghulam Rasool Marazi R-o Sultanpora and Ghulam Mohammad Khan alias Firdaus S-o Mohammad Abdullah Khan R-o Madum, Tangmarg. Reports from Budgam said that during last night, unidentified gunmen intruded into the house of a village headman, namely Abdul Aziz Rishi R-o Abdur Rehman Rishi at Poshkar in Khag area of Beerwah and kidnapped him alongwith another civilian, Mohammad Iqbal Wani S-o Abdur Rasheed Wani. Both were shot dead in the same village. Officials said that Rishi had maintained rapport with security forces. Unidentified gunmen also intruded into the house of one Akbar Khan at Aham Sharif in Bandipore area of Baramulla district and tried to kidnap his guest, Hilal Rishi of Bothu. Khan’s wife, Sarwa Begum, offered resistance and implored the gunmen not to kidnap the guest. However, they shot her dead and kidnapped Rishi who was untraced till late this evening. In yet another incident of violence, unidentified gunmen appeared at Mirakabad Banigam, in Shalimar village, and shot dead one Abdul Ahad Bhat S-o Ghulam Mohammad Bhat. Reports said that Bhat had been working at a liquor outlet in Sonwar, on the national highway, in Srinagar.