Srinagar: Police had information that militant commander Mugees Ahmad was in Srinagar to make “weapons deal or snatch them”, which is why they launched the operation in Zakura on Friday evening, Srinagar police chief Imtiyaz Ismail Parray told Kashmir Reader.
“We exactly knew that Mugees, the militant, was moving in the area and we launched an operation,” Parray said. He said that Mugees had likely come to Srinagar to buy weapons.
“Either they had come for weapon snatching or they were here to buy weapons,” he said. The suspicion of a weapons deal has been given further credence by the recovery of “huge money” from the car in which Mugees and another apprehended militant, Towseef Ahmed, were travelling, Parray said.
“They were in a Santro car and Towseef was the one driving the car. He de-boarded it and our men arrested him. He was unarmed,” Parray said. “We have recovered huge cash from the car, besides a few grenades and UBGL. We have also recovered a mobile phone from the detained militant,” he said.
A senior police officer, requesting anonymity, said that Mugees disembarked from the car and fled the spot, while firing a few rounds at the police party. In the exchange of firing, a bullet hit the face of police sub-inspector Imran Tak, who later succumbed to the injury.
“We suspect that there was another militant in the car who managed to escape and later contacted his associates,” the officer said.
“Mugees had come to Srinagar a day before for this job. He spent a night here with Towseef who happens to be his neighbour,” the officer said.
The family of Towseef has contested the police claim. “Yes, he drove the car and was caught by the police, but he is not a militant,” said one his relatives who was present at Mugees’s house. Police said that charges under Sections 307 and 302 of RPC were registered against Towseef, along with charges under (Prevention of) Unlawful Activities Act.
“Militants are given refuge across Kashmir… Does that mean everyone will be treated like this?” the family of Towseef asked.
Towseef, in his early 20s, studied at SP Higher Secondary Schoool before joining his family business. His family bought the Santro car just a week ago and one of his three brothers is unable to recall its registration number.
“He runs a shop as well where he sells supplements for those who go to gym for body building,” said his brother Sameer Ahmad Shah, who was not at home on Friday when the incident happened.
“The picture (of Towseef with a gun and a grenade) which is making rounds on social media was most probably clicked on the day he was with Mugees… but that does not mean he is a militant,” his relatives, who had gathered at Mugees’s home, said in one voice.