January 04, 2005

Jaish commander arrested at Srinagar hospital


Excelsior Special Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Jan 3: As Police, in a dramatic action, lifted a "district commander" of Jaish-e-Mohammad guerrilla outfit from a hospital in this capital city, CRPF claimed to have eliminated a militant in an encounter in Bagaat-e-Kanipora outskirts today. Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen, suspected to be pro-Government counter-insurgents, have killed a village headman in captivity in Pampore area.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Javaid Makhdoomi, revealed at a news conference this evening that Pulwama Police had, in a major achievement, arrested Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit’s "district commander" Sajjad Ahmed Bhat alias Mulla S/o Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat R/o Banday Mohalla, Shopian, today. He said that working on a specific information, a Police party conducted a raid on Dr Munir Khan’s Kidney Hospital, at Sonwar, and arrested the top wanted Jaish commander "in an operation of surgical precision".

He said that Sajjad Ahmed Bhat admitted his involvement in dozens of attacks on Police, security forces and other targets including the high profile bank robbery case of Imam Sahib. In October this year, militants had killed a Police guard and looted cash worth Rs 35 Lakh from Imam Sahib branch of Jammu & Kashmir Bank.

IGP Kashmir said that the detained militant’s sustained interrogation was likely to solve over a dozen criminal cases. He said that Sajjad’s arrest was significant in the sense that a large number of militant activities had been reported from the south Kashmir locality of Shopian and it was after a long pause that a prominent and top wanted militant commander had been arrested by local Police.

Makhdoomi said that Sajjad Bhat had visited the hospital "for a routine check up" when Police received a tip off and lost no time in lifting him. Sajjad Bhat, with a masked face, was produced before the mediapersons but not allowed to speak. He was quickly whisked away to an undisclosed destination. SP Pulwama, Viplav Kumar, and other Police officers, who participated in the operation, were present at the IGP’s press briefing.

Informed sources earlier disclosed to the EXCELSIOR that Sajjad had conducted as many as five attacks on Army’s 2 Para units at Shopian town and always managed to escape. He was believed to have escaped from the cordon-and-search operations as many as twelve times in the last two years. On the recommendations of a mainstream politician, he had been earlier engaged as SPO and posted at different Police guards protecting the members of the minority community. It was during this period that Sajjad developed intimate relations with the most dreaded Pakistani militants like Omar, Usman and Haaris. Later he deserted Police and joined Jaish-e-Mohammad.

In the last two years, Sajjad had grown as one of the most important militant commanders in south Kashmir. Hospital sources said that he had been admitted for a therapy as stones had been detected in his kidney. His mother and two more relatives were attending on him. He offered no resistance when Police asked him to lift his hands. Officials confirmed that he was not carrying any weapon.

Meanwhile, Mr Makhdoomi, expressed optimism that two more residents of Bijbehara, who have gone underground immediately after Mufti Sarwar’s arrest, would be arrested by Police "in a couple of days".

The IGP Kashmir asserted that the investigation was in progress in the Hawala case involving a number of Bijbehara residents. He said that Police was working on the disclosures made by Mufti Sarwar who has been earlier arrested and detained under PSA in a Jammu jail.

2 killed in Valley

Meanwhile, official sources said that troops of CRPF gunned down one Abdul Majeed Wani S/o Ghulam Nabi Wani R/o Wanpora Khanda in an encounter at Bagaat-e-Kanipora in Srinagar outskirts of Nowgam. Wani was described as a militant and a gun was claimed recovered from his possession. Residents however expressed their doubts about the official version. They believed that Wani had been lifted from his hideout and later killed in a fake encounter.

In the deserted outskirts of Pampore, in saffron-rich Chandhaar locality, Police recovered the dead body of one Abdul Aziz Ganai S/o Abdullah Ganai R/o Sambora. Sources said that Ganai, who was a village headman, had been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from his home. They seemed to have shot him dead after severe physical torture. Residents, however, believed that Ganai had been kidnapped and subsequently killed by pro-Government counter-insurgents. They registered a protest against the killing while taking to the streets and demanding action for Ganai’s killers.

Meanwhile, in Sheikhpora locality of Chhanapora, in Srinagar outskirts, unidentified gunmen last evening fired upon one Ghulam Mohammad Shah S/o Abdul Gaffar Shah R/o Wanpora, Khanda. He was left wounded. Some people rushed him to hospital. He complained that he had been fired upon after some gunmen snatched away cash worth Rs 5000 from his possession. Gunmen have similarly fired upon a contractor, Riyaz Ahmed Bhat S/o Mohammad Amin Bhat, at Sagam in Kokernag area of Anantnag district.

Reports from Pulwama said that unidentified gunmen, suspected to be militants, have kidnapped constable Mohammad Iqbal Rather S/o Bashir Ahmed Rather R/o Hari Parigam from his home last night. He was reportedly posted at Sessions Court in Budgam.

Unidentified gunmen have reportedly held Dr Imtiyaz Qazi, Lecturer Govt Medical College Srinagar, on gunpoint near his residence at Gulbarga Colony, Hyderpora, last evening and took away his Maruti car.

No comments: