Bandipora /Srinagar: A sub inspector (SI) of SIT, Altaf Ahmad, of the Jammu and Kashmir police was killed by suspected militants in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Wednesday afternoon.
Official sources said that a special police team from Rajbagh, Srinagar, along with local police was chasing the militants on the Bandipora-Srinagar road after receiving specific information. But, at around 12:40 pm, they attacked the police team near Gund Dachin, resulting in serious injuries to Altaf.
The injured officer was later shifted to 92 base army hospital, Srinagar, where he succumbed to his injuries. The militant reportedly escaped.
Deputy Inspector General of Police north Kashmir range Gareeb Das, talking to Kashmir Reader, said that an operation was launched by forces after specific information and police had erected checkpoints on the road to catch the militant, however the militant managed to flee from the spot after firing on the SIT officer. He added that the whole area has been cordoned off and a search operation to nab the attacker has been launched. While some sources claimed the militant involved was Abu Qasim, a senior commander of LET, the police did not disclose the identity of the militant.
Later, a guard of honour was held for the slain police officer at Police Control Room Srinagar, in which CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and former CM Omar Abdullah also participated, besides other senior officer of the police department.
Inspector General of Police SJM Geelani, talking to media persons on the side-lines of the ceremony said, “Altaf was one of the best officers of the police department and he has done tremendous work on the anti-terrorist front. It is a huge loss for us.”
He said the police had information about movement of militants on the Hajin road toward Bandipora and police parties, with SI Altaf leading one of them, were present.
He said the team intercepted a vehicle, a load carrier, but two militants hiding in the back of the vehicle came down and opened fire. “The terrorists went into the nearby village and we suspect one of the terrorists has been hit and he’s injured, the whole area has been cordoned off and we are conducting searches and the operation is still on,” Geelani added.
Media reports said Altaf Ahmed was considered a key operational man and was credited with smashing many militant hideouts and arrests and killings of terrorists on the basis of intelligence generated by him. The reports indicated that he became a victim of a trap laid by the LeT.
In the morning, Altaf, nicknamed as ‘24-hour duty cop’, reached his office and he got a “tip-off” about the presence of top LeT commander Abdul Rehman alias ‘Qasim’ in a house in Bandipora area.
Wasting no time, the officer boarded his official vehicle and moved towards the house. According the report, eyewitnesses said a pick-up van started following him from some distance. When the officer reached a secluded spot in Aragam area, the van overtook his vehicle and militants sitting in it fired two bullets on the left side of his chest and one on the right side.
As soon as the news about his death spread, a pall of gloom descended on police headquarters. Besides the top brass of police, the CM and former CM, top army, paramilitary and senior intelligence officials paid their homage to the officer.
Senior officials working with him said that Altaf was always on duty and never said “no” to any operation. “He can be credited with 50 per cent of operations that have taken place since 2008,” an official said.
—With inputs from PTI