Jamiat begins its anti-election strikes
5 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: With a broad daylight shootout, in close vicinity of the J&K Police headquarters, the dreaded militant outfit Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen today gunned down the general secretary of Awami Mahaz. President of the not-so-prominent organisation sustained critical injuries in the attack. President of the Awami Mahaz, Ghulam Nabi Dar S-o Abdul Kabir Dar R-o Fatehgarh, Anantnag, and general secretary, Mohammad Anwar Banka S-o Mohammad Yusuf Banka R-o DC Office Road, Budgam, were present at their office near Karan Nagar Chowk, when militants appeared at 1145 hours and opened fire on them. While as Dar was left critically injured, Banka died on spot. One Habibullah Dev S-o Abdul Ahad R-o Gondipora Budgam also sustained injuries in the shootout. Both of the injured were rushed to hospital after the gunmen managed to escape. Mohammad Anwar Banka, who had for years worked as a militant, a counter-insurgent and owner of an electric goods shop in Budgam, seemed to have been the main target. The other day only, he had addressed an Awami Mahaz rally at Dreygam in Budgam district. According to some reports, he had lashed out on both, militants as well as the Ikhwan counter-insurgents for comitting atrocities against the common civilian. Sources said that, due to his bad company and frequent visits to New Delhi, Banka had become a suspect in the eyes of the common people—particularly the separatist and militant circles. Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen has immediately claimed responsibility and threatened to similarly strike on all mainstream political activists. It has reportedly constituted a special squad, christened as Al-Jabbaar, to eliminate the mainstream political activists likely to participate in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Reports described Dar as a civilian who had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections. He is known as a frequent visitor to New Delhi who had reportedly met with a number of Awami Mahaz activists. Mahaz is a breakaway faction of the counter-insurgent Ikhwan organisation and most of its 40-odd members are Middle Pass or Matriculates. Today’s incident came within two days of some militant outfit’s threatening declaration that the Valley’s pro-election elements would have to be neutralised. According to a statement, Jamiat has constituted the special squad, Al-Jabbaar, for eliminating ''all mainstream political activists''. However, it is the ruling National Conference (NC) which has been facing the brunt of Pakistan-trained militants all over Kashmir valley. According to official sources,, the guerilla organisation has set up a special squad Al-Jabbaar to strike on militants in half-of the capital city. Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant leader Mushtaq Zargar’s guerrilla outfit, Al-Omar Mujahideen, is understood to have been made responsible for similar cases in other half of the capital city. Meanwhile, an auto-driver sustained gunshot wounds when some militants fired upon him in close vicinity of the University campus in Hazratbal. Sources said that the unidentified gunmen had barged into the residence of a Kashmir University Professor, Ghulam Rasool Malik, and demanded money. However, the inmates and neighbours raised an outcry and the gunmen escaped from the premises.