Slain LeT comdr’s wife turns out to be a top militant18 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Wife of recently eliminated Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) district commander Isaq Bhat alias Hamza alias Ateeq has also turned out to be a top militant of the outfit involved in many subversive activities. Named Shabnam, the 28 year old woman is on the run and was being searched vigorously as police believed that it was high time to nab her or make her surrender after the killing of her husband only four days back in an encounter with Army and police at Bunjwah in Kither forests of Kishtwar district. DIG Doda-Ramban range Manish Kishore Sinha told the Excelsior that Shabnam was working for the ultras for past more than one year as an Over Ground Worker (OGW) but had become an active militant about six months back. She was working actively with LeT group led by her husband Isaq Bhat in Bunjwah-Kither belt. Shabnam was arranging all kind of logistic support for the LeT outfit by disguising as a shepherd, milk seller etc. She had been tasked to receive the fresh group of militants and shift them to safe hide-outs in the forests while Ateeq himself was instrumental in luring teen-agers into the militancy, Mr Sinha said. He added that Shabnam could have fallen alone as all three militants of the LeT outfit in Bunjwah, Kither belt have either been killed or apprehended. While Shabnam's husband, Ateeq was gunned down by Army and police at Bunjwah on July 14, his associates, Nazir Ahmed Gorsi alias Saqib son of Noor Mohammad Gorsi R-o Burdar Patnazi and Mohammad Shaffi Shah alias Pathan alias Idrees son of Mohammad Yaqub Shah R-o Ashmuqam, Pahalgam in Anantnag district of Kashmir were apprehended on July 16 and 17 at Bunjwah and Patnazi respectively. Police said they have intensified searches and back channel efforts to get the woman militant arrested or surrendered. Elderly citizens of Patnazi and surrounding areas and some SPOs have been engaged to hold talks with Shabnam to get her surrendered with a message that a lenient view will be taken of her activities so far. There was a possibility that Shabnam might have escaped to another area of Lashkar's hold and joined new group of the outfit. However, there had been no intercept so far about the movement of woman militant, according to police. A woman militant each was killed in Doda and Kishtwar districts last year while a couple of others were apprehended. Recently, police had launched a drive to win back the women involved in militancy and working as OGWs in Doda district. The secret drive launched with the help of elderly citizens including former Panchayat members by the police had paid good results with at least 16 women returning to mainstream giving up the ‘‘society of militants' for whom they were working as OGWs by transporting their weapons, providing them food and giving them information about the movement of security forces. Police said if Shabnam didn't shun her association with the LeT outfit and surrender, she would be treated like any other militant and dealt with accordingly. .