Hizb’s ‘Tower Hunter’ killed In Kupwara Gunfight

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SRINAGAR: In a major setback to the Hizbul Mujahideen , security forces on Tuesday killed one of its top commanders who was wanted for last year’s attacks on communication towers in Jammu and Kashmir and many other militancy-related cases, police officials claimed. 

The killing triggered violent protests in Sopore, to which he belonged.

Police said Sameer Wani was shot dead after security forces surrounded a house in Nagri village in Kupwara district, some 100 km from here, after information that some militants were hiding there.

According to a police officer, security forces came under heavy fire from the hideout, leading to fighting that left Wani, the Hizb divisional commander for north Kashmir, dead.

Police alleged that Wani was wanted for his involvement in dozens of attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and had unleashed a reign of terror last year after masterminding strikes on communication towers and their owners to cripple cellphone services in the state.

The attacks on cell phone towers were claimed by a little-known militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Islam. Police said that Wani, who had earned a nickname “tower hunter”, had set up the group as an offshoot of Hizbul Mujahideen. 

The Hizbul Mujahideen had then denied any involvement and blamed security agencies for the attacks that had caused severe disruption of cellphone services in parts of the Kashmir Valley.

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who also heads militant conglomerate United Jihad Council (UJC) based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, paid tributes to the slain militant in a statement to a Srinagar-based news agency, CNS.

Wani’s death triggered angry protests in parts of north Kashmir. As soon as reports of his killing reached his Dooru village in Sopore sub-district, hundreds of residents came out to protest, shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans, witnesses and officials said.

The protesters set ablaze a police vehicle in Shiva area after his body reached the village but its occupants were not harmed.

Dozens of motorcycle-borne young men took out a rally as the militant commander’s body was taken in a procession for funeral prayers. Hundreds of people attended Wani’s burial in his village.

Markets were closed and public transport spontaneously went off the road following Wani’s death.

The protesters also clashed with police and threw stones at them. Police fired tear gas canisters to disperse them as tension ran high in and around the area.

Will Strike Delhi If Civilians Are Targeted: Hizb 

Conglomerate of militant outfits United Jihad Council (UJC) Tuesday paid glorious tribute to Hizb commnader Sameer Ahmed Wani of Dooru Sopore who was killed in a gun fight in Nagri Dragmulla area of Kupwara district.

UJC chief Syed Salahuddin while addressing a meeting said that people of Kashmir are filled with the love for their land who are always ready to make any kind of sacrifices. 

“The attack in Pathankot Air Base, Bijbehara, Pampore, Kupwara and Drugmulla amply prove that militants present in every part of Valley have potential to smack Indian forces,” he said.

As per a statement to CNS, Syed Salahuddin said that forces harass and target civilians and such tactics will have serious ramifications. “If Forces continue to target innocent civilians then militants will spread its net in New Delhi and will strike there,” he said.

Expressing satisfaction over the role played by people and militants in Valley, Syed Salahuddin said it is irony that puppet Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti mourns the death of Indian troopers while she could not see the oppression, repression, killings and miseries inflicted by these troopers on Kashmiri people. “Armed struggle will continue till Indian troopers are present in Valley,” he said.

Hizb Poster Says Commander Got Two Members Killed

Copies of a handwritten poster of banned militant outfit Hizb-ul Mujahideen have surfaced in parts of the Kashmir Valley this week, blaming one of its commanders for conspiring to get his colleagues killed.

A month after the confusion over the arrest of Hizb militant Tariq Pandit, the poster in Urdu said that the militant had surrendered and was involved in the killing of two commanders, Naseer Pandit and Waseem Malla.

The poster, on the Hizb letterhead with the stamp of the local divisional commander, alleged that Pandit and his family were paid Rs 45 lakh by security forces for information on the militants’ whereabouts.

Inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Javed Mujtaba Jillani declined to comment on the poster’s authenticity.

On May 28, hours after claiming that Pandit had surrendered before security agencies, police said he had been arrested.

The poster asked Pandit’s family to compensate those injured in the encounter. “How we deal with the family will be decided later,” it said.

Pandit is an aide of Hizb commander Burhan Wani and features in photos posted on social media, showing the militants in fatigues with weapons.

Many of the militants posing with Wani in the photos have been killed in encounters. Wani remains a fugitive with a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head.

A video, shot in south Kashmir, surfaced on Sunday, showing Wani playing cricket with militants.– Toufiq Rashid |Hindustan Times

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