Had served in Kashmir and Manipur; body buried before family recognised his pictures
Anantnag: The militant killed in the Larnoo gunfight here in Anantnag district on Saturday was wrongly identified by police as a Pakistani national, for he was, in fact, a former paramilitary CRPF constable and a native of Pulwama district in south Kashmir.
The slain has now been identified as Tawseef Ahmad Pandit, son of Abdul Gani, a resident of Talangam village in Pulwama district. Pandit served in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a constable for 5 years between 2006 and 2011.
“He was posted at the 181 Bn here in Kashmir and also served in Manipur,” Muhammad Haban, Pandit’s brother, told Kashmir Reader. “He left the force because of domestic circumstances.”
Since he quit the CRPF, Tawseef and his brother had been running a crockery store in main town Pulwama. Tawseef joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) on August 16 this year.
The gunfight had taken place in Larnoo area of Anantnag district early Saturday morning, where two other militants were trapped but managed to escape. Following the gunfight, the police had maintained that the slain militant was a Pakistani national and an IED expert of the LeT.
“He has been identified as Nasir alias Shakeel alias Shak Bhai, a Category A militant of the LeT. He was an IED expert,” the police press release read.
However, as the pictures of the body were circulated over social media, Tawseef’s brother recognised some of his belongings and approached the local police station. “They had already buried him by then. But they showed us the pictures of his face and we were doubly sure that it was indeed my brother,” Haban said.
The family held a quiet funeral prayer for Pandit near their house, later in the evening, without the burial.
Kashmir Reader approached SSP Pulwama Ashish Mishra for a comment but he refused saying the gunfight took place in Anantnag and the police there will comment on the issue.
SSP Anantnag Sandeep Choudhry did not answer his phone. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, however has confirmed that the slain was indeed from Pulwama.
“He was a former CRPF personnel and an LeT terrorist, from Pulwama,” Kumar said.