December 2017 News

Kashmir's Pint-size 'merchant Of Death' Trali Killed In Encounter

26 December 2017
Times of India
Neeraj Chauhan and M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: A 47-year-old dwarf who walked with a limp and plotted several terror attacks for Jaish-e-Mohammad, causing persistent grief to the security agencies, was killed by the forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district last night, after years of cat-and-mouse chase. The four feet two inches tall Jaish commander, Noor Mohammad Tantray, alias Noor Trali, alias Peer Baba, alias Chhota Noora, was the mastermind of several terror attacks in the valley, including the one on BSF camp near Srinagar airport in October and on state minister Naeem Akhtar's cavalcade in Tral on September 21. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2011 in the case and shifted to Srinagar's Central Jail in 2015 before being released on parole. His parole was extended by the Jammu & Kashmir High Court same year. Since he jumped parole in 2015, Trali was aggressively reviving outfit's activities, especially helping bring large number of trained fighters from Pakistan into the valley, intelligence sources in Delhi said. He was stepping up JeM's role in Kashmir by planning and assisting in major attacks on security forces. Besides contributing to last year's terror attack on the Uri army base, Trali lately designed a series of attacks on the highways on the security forces apart from identifying escape routes for terrorists. On Tuesday, director general of Police, SP Vaid said that based on a specific intelligence input, security forces cordoned off the house in Samboora village, where Trali was staying with two or three other militants. While the other terrorists managed to escape, Trali was killed in a gunfight. The news of his killing triggered protests in Samboora and Kakpora villages where youth resorted to stone-pelting on security forces, leading to clashes between the two. Authorities have suspended internet services as a preventive measure. Noor was given a spectacular funeral by his supporters at his village Darganaie Gund in Pulwama district. Hundreds of residents, including several terrorists gathered at his house to attend his funeral. Trali's body was draped in a JeM flag and at least eight rounds of funeral prayers were held for the 'merchant of death' as described by a Delhi court in 2011. Sources said some militants also appeared at his funeral and gave him a gun salute. Intelligence Bureau officials said that Trali was responsible for the 'stay, logistics and operational activities' of a large number of Pakistani terrorists in Kashmir for past several months. He had also become the chief finance handler of JeM in Kashmir and regularly received funds from across the border. Trali was recruited as an over ground worker (OGW) by Jaish-e-Mohammad's top leader Ghazi Baba in the late 90s, particularly in view of the strategic advantage his short height provided. Due to his dwarfness, he escaped the scrutiny and suspicion by the forces for a long time. Retired IPS officer of Delhi Police, Ashok Chand, who first arrested Tantray and four others with a consignment of arms and ammunition in Delhi, said, 'Tantray was always a dangerous man. We arrested him in August 2003 when JeM terrorists were bringing arms, ammunition and explosive material in wooden boxes of fruits and vegetables by trucks from Kashmir to Delhi. We found 10 hand grenades, 10 grenade shells and one under barrel grenade launcher hidden in boxes apart from over Rs 19 lakh.' While sentencing him and four other Jaish terrorists, the additional sessions judge RK Gauba had said, 'These foot soldiers of forces inimical to India and bent upon sabotaging the peace and tranquillity here besides posing a serious threat to its unity, sovereignty and integrity, have to be neutralized.' 'In order that they are suitably de-fanged and blunted so as to be of no further use to the enemy, it is imperative that these merchants of death and destruction are locked away for their remaining lives, which is the course permissible in the statutory prescriptions provided for a large number of offences committed by them.'

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