Dramatic escape for Dy SP in Lashkar ambush
4 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Deputy Superintendent of Police Shopian, Imtiyaz Ahmed Mir, and five other Police personnel had a narrow escape when they were rescued by security forces from the clutches of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in Shopian area this evening. Meanwhile, gunmen have shot dead three civilians in Bandipore, security forces have eliminated a ''battalion commander'' of Hizbul Mujahideen in Pulwama and two Army personnel have died in a blast in Anantnag district. Official sources in south Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that SDPO Shopian, Imtiayaz Ahmed Mir, four of his PSOs and driver were ambushed by a thick group of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants at Lundro Hajipora on Shopian-Kader road, at 1545 hours today. The heavily-armed group of Pakistani militants intercepted the non-bulletproof Police Gypsy, 8 Km ahead of Shopian. As both sides opened fire, the Police personnel took shelter in a cluster of houses in Lundru Hajipora village. The Dy SP and his PSOs engaged the militants in exchange of gunfire until security forces and Police reinforcements reached the spot. Although the militants managed to escape while taking away the AK-47 rifles of a constable, the Dy SP and his besieged colleagues were rescued on time. The 15-minute gunbattle between the Police party and militants created a dramatic situation as the authorities were certain that the Dy SP and his PSOs had been overpowered and kidnapped. Within minutes Commanding Officer Rashtriya Rifles 44 Bn, C.O. RR 01 Bn, IGP Kashmir K Rajindra Kumar, SSP Pulwama, SP Ops Pulwama, SP Ops Srinagar besides Army, CRPF and Police reinforcements were all on the spot. Late tonight, Dy SP Imtiyaz Ahmed Mir, who was contacted by EXCELSIOR on telephone, said that he was going to Alamgunj village to investigate a land grabbing case. According to some complaints, three land brokers had grabbed some area from the apple orchard of a displaced Kashmiri Pandit, Mr Raman Wazir. Imtiyaz said that he saw six heavily-armed militants crossing the main road, just 50 metres ahead of the Police Gypsy. Six more militants of the group were seen to have occupied vantage position atop a height. ''I stopped and jumped out of the vehicle alongwith four PSOs. I asked them all to disperse and take position in different houses. As we alighted, all the militants opened fire. I asked the driver to proceed with full speed and get a reinforcement from an Army camp, 2 Km ahead of the village. Fortunately, he succeeded to reach the camp. We engaged the militants in strategic fire but they identified my shelter and cordoned it from four directions while exchanging fire and abuses with me. Finally, Army reached the spot and we were all rescued'', said the Dy SP. According to the residents, one constable Maqbool was chased away by militants in a nullah after he exhausted his entire ammunition. He threw away his gun and escaped in another direction. He hid himself in a house but the militants picked up his AK-47 rifle and escaped the moment they saw Army reaching the spot. Senior military and Police officers, including IG Kashmir, reached the spot and praised the Dy SP and his team for showing wits and gallantry in fighting the militants and managing to escape unharmed. Meanwhile, troops of BSF 09 Bn eliminated one Ghulam Rasool Deedarh alias Gazi S-o Mohammad Abdullah R-o Lassidaman in an encounter at Zampathri in Shopian-Pulwama belt of south Kashmir. Officials claimed that he was a ''battalion commander'' with Hizbul Mujahideen. Reports from north Kashmir said that unidentified gunmen appeared at Dangarpora, Sopore, and fired upon Shakil-ur-Rehman Shah S-o Abdur Rasheed. He sustained critical injuries and was rushed to a Srinagar hospital. Before treatment, he succumbed to injuries at the hospital. Shah was a former militant activist who had been, earlier this year, arrested by SOG Baramulla in Srinagar. He had been released after a two-month-long detention. Hurriyat circles here alleged that Shah had been gunned down by counter-insurgent gunmen. Sources said that last evening, unidentified gunmen also appeared at Keunisu Guzarbal (Bandipore) and shot dead one Mohammad Akbar Beg S-o Mehda Beg at his home. According to some reports, the gunmen killed the civilian after taking dinner at his home. Gunmen also appeared at Lawaypora Khayyar (Bandipore) and shot dead one Sakhi Bakerwal S-o Shahdeen R-o Kalakote, Rajouri, who had stayed as a guest at the house of his brother-in-law Meraj-ud- din S-o Munna Gujjar. Gunmen also kidnapped one Gul Khan S-o Abdullah Khan Pangapathri (Bandipore). He was untraced till late tonight. Gunmen also fired upon the residence of an NC activist, Ghulam Mohiuddin Wani S-o Mohamad Sultan Wani at Watpora Qazipora (Bandipore). Unconfirmed reports said that the ruling party member sustained injuries in the attack. Reports from south Kashmir added that two soldiers died in a blast at the camp of 17-Madras in Dooru area of Anantnag last evening. Officials said that it was a grenade explosion as the device had been placed at inappropriate place.