Baramulla: A Divisional Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in Sopore area of this north Kashmir district, police officials said Sunday.
They claimed the militant was killed in an encounter with a joint part of police and Army in Seelo village of the apple town.
“Police and Army launched a joint search operation in Bhat Mohalla in Sopore town following information about the presence of a militant there,” a police spokesman said.
“The house, in which the militant was hiding, was cordoned off and the militant asked to surrender. However, the militant opened fire on the security forces and was killed in retaliatory action,” the spokesman said.
The slain militant has been identified as Mohammad Shafi Sheikh alias Shafi Peer, who was operating as Hizb’s Divisional Commander for north Kashmir for many years. He belonged to Zaloora village of Sopore.
However, local residents contested the police claims and said they did not hear any gun shots in the area and rejected that the militant was killed in an encounter.
Shafi had crossed the Line of Control in 1995 and was arrested in 1998. After his release from jail in 2006 he rejoined Hizbul Mujahideen and was active in north Kashmir.
Police claimed that the slain militant was involved in number of attacks on cops in Sopore area, including the killing of police constable Mohammad Shafi Lone at Lathishat, SPO Altaf Ahmad at Adipora, HC Mohammad Yousuf and two CRPF personnel at Pattan in 2010.
“He was an IED expert and was involved in a number of IED blasts, including the blast at Police station, Sopore, in 2011 in which one constable Morifat Hussain got killed,” the spokesman said, claiming he was also involved in number of grenade attacks in Sopore.
Meanwhile, when body of the slain militant was brought to his native village Zaloora, thousands of people from Bomai, Seelo, Brath, and other areas arrived there and staged anti-India and pro-freedom protests.
Shafi was later buried at local graveyard amid slogans. with PTI inputs