Lashkar Face In South Kashmir Killed3 October 2011
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police and the Army claimed to have killed Lashkar-e-Toiba’s top commander - and its face in south Kashmir - Abdul Rehman in a gunbattle at Shubdani village in Pulwama district on Monday. The killing comes barely weeks after the outfit’s leader in north Kashmir, Abdullah Ooni, was slain in Sopore. Rehman, who was operating in the Valley for the past six years, was reported to be the brain behind the car-bomb blast outside Srinagar Central Jail in 2009 that killed five policemen. “We have killed him,” said IGP, Kashmir, Shiv Murari Sahai. “It is a major achievement for us. His killing has dented the operational capability of Lashkar.” Sahai said a joint team of the police and the Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles raided Shubdani around noon after getting inputs that Abdul Rehman was in the village. As the team zeroed in on the house he was in, the Lashkar commander opened fire, triggering an encounter, in which he was eventually killed. Abdul Rehman, Lashkar’s Divisional Commander for south Kashmir, was the most wanted militant after Ooni and carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. He came to Kashmir in 2005 and initially operated out of north Kashmir’s Kupwara, where he met the then Al Badr chief Zeenat-ul-Islam. In 2007, Abdul Rehman shifted his base to south Kashmir and worked under Lashkar’s south Kashmir commander Gazi. When Gazi was killed in an encounter, Abdul Rehman was chosen to succeed him. He hit the headlines in 2009 when the police blamed him for the blast outside Srinagar Central Jail. He was also blamed for the killing of an Assistant Sub Inspector in Shopian and two policemen in Pampore. He was also instrumental in recruiting youth for Lashkar and in “recycling of released militants”, the police said. “He was himself directly involved in militancy operations. With his killing, the operational capability of militants have been reduced to a large extent,” claimed a top police officer. Besides Ooni, Abdul Rehman is the sixth top Lashkar commander to have been killed in recent months. Five of the outfits commanders, including north Kashmir commander Saqib, Kupwara chief Hamad, and commander for central Kashmir Qari Saifullah, were killed in a fierce gunbattle in Kupwara’s Lolab on July 16.