Pinto Malik Among 2 Militants Killed
14 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: One of south Kashmir's most wanted militants, Mohammad Altaf Malik alias Pinto Malik of Littar, Pulwama, has been eliminated by Police and security forces alongwith his associate in a fierce gunbattle at Whail Nowgam in Shopian-Kulgam belt today. Informed sources told the EXCELSIOR that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 62 Bn and SOG Pulwama swooped on the house of one Ghulam Qadir Chak at Whail Nowgam on Shopian-Kulgam Road in the forenoon today. Some local militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba were present at Chak's house according to the reports made available to Police and security forces. Sources said that during the search operation, troops observed the presence of at least two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba. As they were challenged, the holed up militants opened fire and triggered off an encounter with Police and armed forces. Even as a soldier sustained injuries, forces destroyed a part of the target house and killed both the militants in the 3-hour-long gunbattle. They were identified as Mohammad Altaf Malik alias Pinto Malik alias Faisal alias Abu Furqan S-o late Ghulam Hassan Malik R-o Littar and Sheeraz Ahmed Mir alias Abu Sarya alias Imran S-o Habibullah Mir R-o Rakh Littar, Pulwama. Officials claimed that Sheeraz was Lashkar-e-Toiba's 'District Commander' and Pinto was a Grade-I category militant. SSP Pulwama, Nitish Kumar, said that Lashkar had suffered a major setback in the Shopian operation as it had lost two ace confidantes of the organisation's 'Divisional Commander', Aatif. He said that the operation was led by Additional SP of Pulwama, Abdul Qayoom. He claimed that both the slain militants, particularly Pinto Malik, were involved in a large numbers of attacks and subversive activities against Police, security forces and common civilians, including killing of four J&K Police personnel near Littar on February 5 this year. He was also involved in an attack on troops of RR 55 Bn in which one soldier and a civilian had got killed. According to Police records, Pinto Malik had beheaded a Tata-Sumo driver, Maroof Ahmed Mir, in August 2005 and he was also involved in killing of the Ircon engineer, Sudhir Kumar Pundeer and his young brother in the same area in 2004. Officials said that Pinto and Sheeraz had also planned and executed an attack on a CRPF patrol party in which two soldiers had been killed near Sangham on Srinagar- Jammu highway. Pinto Malik had been arrested earlier and confined to judicial custody. On September 7th, 2006, when he was carried from Central Jail Srinagar to appear in the Court of District and Sessions Judge Pulwama, Malik had staged a dramatic escape from the court premises while attacking his Police guard and jumping out of the boundary wall. His militant associates had lobbed a hand grenade to facilitate Pinto's escape. Thereafter, Police and security forces had conducted over a dozen operations to get him arrested or killed but every time he had managed either to hide or to escape. According to official sources, Pinto Malik had become a militant to take revenge of his contractor father Ghulam Hassan Malik's killing by some militant about six years ago. However, his commanders in Lashkar made him forget that traumatic event and indoctrinated him to work 'only in the way of Allah'. A group of people from his village clashed with Police when they appeared in Shopian area to collect the slain militants' dead body. Reports said that six persons sustained injuries when Police used baton charge and tearsmoke to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, Constable Rajinder Singh of CRPF 164 Bn, who had been fired upon by suspected militants at Batmaloo last evening, has succumbed to injuries in SKIMS, Soura. Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed the action.