Lateef Tiger killed along with two militants from Shopian; 5 civilians with pellet injuries referred to SMHS; thousands take part in funeral prayers
SHOPIAN: A top ranking militant and an associate of Hizbul Mujahideen’s former charismatic commander Burhan Wani was killed, along with two of his associates, in an encounter with government forces in Shopian district on Friday.
Lateef Ahmad Dar aka Lateef Tiger, a militant active in Kashmir for the past 1,878 days, was killed at Malibug village along with fellow militants Tariq Ahmad Shiekh and Shakir Ahmad Nengroo, both residents of Shopian.
A gunfight, according to police, broke out at Malibug village after a cordon and search operation was launched by 34 RR of Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). At about 6am, the hiding militants fired upon the forces, starting a gunfight.
“Three militants were killed in the encounter. Arms and war-like stores were recovered from the encounter site,” Srinagar-based army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a statement.
Soon after news of the encounter spread in the area, scores of youths rushed towards the encounter site and started pelting stones on the government forces. According to doctors at districts hospitals of Shopian and Pulwama, 19 persons were brought to the hospital with injuries. Five with pellet injuries among them were referred to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for advanced treatment. Doctors said that the referred persons included a person who had sustained firearm injury.
The gunfight ended by 1pm and soon after, government forces withdrew from the site. The bodies of the militants were handed over to their families by police after performing medico-legal formalities.
A residential house was substantially damaged during the encounter and a nearby house also suffered damages.
Lateef Tiger, son of Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, resident of Dogripora village in Pulwama district, was active since March 13, 2014, and was counted among the longest surviving militants in Kashmir. According to police, he was the last surviving militant from the “Burhan group”, a photograph of whom together had become quite popular in Kashmir.
A family source said that Tiger has left behind three brothers, parents, and a sister. They said that he belonged to a well-off family.
Tariq Ahmad Sheikh, son of Shamim Ahmad Sheikh, resident of Chitragam village of Shopian, was active since a year and was popularly known as Tariq Molvi and Mufti Tariq. Family sources said that he had studied a Mufti course at the Bandipora Islamic seminary.
A close relative of Sheikh told Kashmir Reader that Tariq’s father was also a militant who was killed in the early 1990s in Shopian.
The third militant slain was Shariq Ahmad Nengroo, son of Muhammad Yousuf Nengroo, resident of Chotigam village of Shopian, a militant of 40 days. Local sources said that he joined militant ranks on March 24 this year. They said that he had studied till Class 12 and had joined militant ranks soon after.
Witnesses said that a group of militants appeared during the funeral of Shariq Ahmad and offered him a gun salute. A gun salute was also offered to Tariq Ahmad Sheikh at his native village of Chitragam.
Witnesses said that thousands of mourners attended the funeral prayers of the slain militants. Emotional scenes were witnessed during the funerals with women crying and beating their chests. Flowers and candies were thrown on the coffins while pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were raised by youths during the funeral prayers.
Meanwhile, internet services were snapped in south Kashmir in the wake of the Shopian gunfight, and so was the train service.