Retd DySP shot dead, ISM claims responsibility

Retd DySP shot dead, ISM claims responsibility

10 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Ahead of Independence Day when security in Srinagar has been tightened, militants struck in the heart of Srinagar this afternoon by killing a retired police officer outside a Masjid in Batmaloo area of Srinagar. Police said that Abdul Hamid Bhat, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, was shot at while coming out of Masjid Bilal in Moominabad area of Batmaloo in Srinagar after offering Friday prayers. Police said as soon as Bhat came out of the Masjid, he was shot at twice in his head by a militant who was waiting outside the Masjid for him to come out. The incident took place at around 1.45 p.m. and the gunmen fled the scene taking advantage of the panic which followed the shooting, police added. Sources said that another militant was also accompanying the one who fired at Bhat. Police said Bhat was left in a pool of blood as two bullets hit his head and was removed to hospital where he was declared brought dead. Bhat originally from Shaheed Gunj, Srinagar had shifted to Moomin Abad, Batmaloo a decade ago. He retired from his service last year. He was posted as DSP Mahraj Gunj, Srinagar during the summer unrest of 2010 during which over 100 youth died across Kashmir. He was, however, later transferred and posted as DSP Control Room after allegations of use of excessive force and firing on protesters by police and CRPF during which Tufail Matoo, Mohammad Rafiq Bangroo and several others were killed. Islamic Movement of Kashmir, an unknown militant outfit has claimed responsibility for his killing. A spokesman of the outfit, Omar Mukhtar, told a local news agency that he was actively involved the killing of youth in summer agitation of 2010. The spokesman while justifying his killing alleged that he had killed a militant in early 1990s. Hundreds of people joined his last rites at Batmaloo in the evening after postmortem was conducted on his body in Rainawari hospital. Senior police officers including Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, S M Sahai and SSP Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari reached the spot to assess the situation. A hunt has been launched to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of the police officer. The attack on the police officer came in the locality that is in the vicinity of Bakshi Stadium where security has been beefed up ahead of Independence day. There have been series of grenade attacks in Srinagar and Baramulla recently and one was targeted at Srinagar's Civil Secretariat adjacent to Batmaloo locality despite tightened security in Srinagar after inputs by security agencies that militants are planning to target Srinagar. Last month police and para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) started surprise security checks and cordon and searches after they received inputs about militant activity in Srinagar city. There are reports that militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) have managed to create some sleeper cells in Srinagar and in its outskirts whose job is to carry out attacks in Srinagar. This is the second killing in Srinagar after killing of ruling National Conference (NC) worker in Natipora area of Srinagar on June 15. He was also killed on Friday when he was heading towards Masjid in his locality to offer Friday prayers. However, six persons including two former militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were arrested for killing the NC worker. The arrested persons were Muhammad Yusuf Dar of Kawoosa Magam, Budgam, Javid Ahmad Sheikh of Arth Soibug, Budgam, Gulzar Ahmad Parray of Khandori, Budgam, Manzoor Ahmad Wani of Srinagar, Manzoor Ahmad Khan of Srinagar and Shakeel Ahmad of Narbal.