SP's PSO, Militant Killed In Sopore
20 October 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Personal Security Officer (PSO) of SP Sopore and a Pakistani militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba today died in a face-to-face encounter in an orchard on Sopore-Bandipore Road. Informed official sources told EXCELSIOR that over a specific information available with Sopore Police, troops of 22 Bn launched a cordon-and-search operation at Malpora, close to Malmapanpora, on Sopore-Bandipore Road in the forenoon today. A militant, who was present in the locality, managed to escape. After troops withdrew the operation, Police received tip off according to which the escapee was in an apple orchard, about KM away. A joint contingent of Sopore Police and SOG Sopore, led by SP Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, rushed to the orchard and began looking for the militant. As soon as SP's PSO, Constable Imtiyaz Ahmed, directed a black cloak-clad suspect to reveal his identity, he exposed an AK-47 rifle and fired volleys of fire on the Police party. Even as SP Imtiyaz Mir had a narrow escape, his PSO and another Constable, Mushtaq Ahmed, sustained gunshot wounds. Officials who participated in the operation said that the militant fired dozens of rounds from his UBGL and bursts from his AK-47 rifle and the fierce encounter continued for about 15 minutes. It was after 15 minutes of firing that the militant got up and came rushing towards SP Sopore and his men with a loud slogan of Allah-o-Akbar and intense firing. Just 5 to 7 yards from his targets, the militant in suicidal mode was about to capture the injured PSO when SP Imtiyaz and his guards gunned him down. One AK-47 rifle, one UBGL and one mobile phone were recovered from his possession. He was identified as Abu Abdullah of Lashkar-e- Toiba. Officials said that he was a Pakistani national. Gunshot marks on his body indicated that he had escaped from more than one gunbattle in the past. The injured constables were evacuated but Constable Imtiyaz succumbed to injuries due to loss of blood. Constable Mushtaq was rushed to Srinagar and admitted to Bone & Joint Hospital, Barzullah. Doctors declared him out of danger. Sources said that a 60-year-old civilian, Abdul Rahim Rather, sustained a minor gunshot injury during the crossfiring. He was rushed to a hospital and discharge after getting first aid. Sources said that Constable Imtiyaz, recruited in J&K Police in 2002, was a resident of Ladhoo, Pampore. Police officials carried his body to Pampore village where his funeral took place in the evening. Reached over telephone, SP Sopore said that the encounter took place face-to-face and two of his personnel were injured for which he ordered them not to retaliate immediately for fear of civilian casualties. He said that he and his men took positions and retaliated only after the civilian in the orchard escaped to safety. He said that according to an information, the Lashkar militant was supposed to carry out a fidayeen strike, either in Sopore or in Srinagar, in the next few days. Spokesman of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi, told EXCELSIOR over telephone that the militant of his organisation died after killing five SOG personnel, including an Inspector. He identified the militant killed as Abu Abdullah Jaish. He said that yet another encounter started between the militants of his organisation and security forces in the same area at 1630 hours. He said that the encounter was underway and details were not available immediately. Officials, however, maintained that only one Constable got killed and one more sustained injuries before the militant was gunned down. They insisted that no other encounter took place in Sopore or any other place in Kashmir valley today.