- Was escaping in burka, associates hurled grenade: police
- Clashes in Tral, locals allege custodial killing
Pulwama: A Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was in police custody since January 10 was killed while a police constable was injured in a grenade explosion inside a police station, here in Tral area of Pulwama district, on Monday.
While the police say the militant was trying to escape in a burka, when “his associates hurled the grenade”, locals allege it to be a case of custodial killing.
Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan, son of Ghulam Muhammad Chopan, resident of Wagad village in Tral, was apprehended in Watlab, Sopore, on January 10 along with another militant and as many as nine “Over Ground Workers”.
Police said Mushtaq was trying to escape in a burqa (veil) when his associates, in a bid to help him escape, hurled a grenade inside the police station.
“When he was near the main gate, someone from outside lobbed a grenade as part of a planned conspiracy to divert attention, so that he could escape conveniently,” a police statement said.
The statement further said that the grenade exploded inside the station when Mushtaq was nearby, killing him and injuring a police constable, Mehraj-ud-din.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir SP Pani told Kashmir Reader that a pistol was recovered from the possession of the killed militant and an autopsy was being carried out.
“A pistol has been recovered near his body. We are investigating the case,” Pani said.
The recovery of the pistol and the fact that the militant was wearing a burqa indicates a major security breach at the police station, which the police says is being investigated. If a security breach indeed took place, it would be the second within a month, after LeT militant Abu Hunzallah’s escape from SMHS hospital in Srinagar on February 6.
Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid said that an inquiry has been ordered into the incident, when asked whether the incident was a case of a security breach or not.
“We have ordered an inquiry. Things will be ascertained very soon ,” Vaid told Kashmir Reader.
People in Tral alleged that it was a case of custodial killing. Soon after the incident, they came out on streets and protested against police.
A complete shutdown was forced in the town when stone-pelting took place in Tral town and Mushtaq’s native village, Wagad.
Police, later in the day, handed over Mushtaq’s body to his family, after which it was taken to Wagad where thousands had assembled for his funeral prayers.
Funeral prayers were going on when this report was filed. A group of militants who arrived at the funeral also offered a gun-slaute for the deceased.
The injured policeman is being treated at the army’s base hospital in Srinagar.
“He is stable as of now and is being treated at the base hospital,” Pani said.