Militant who helped Naveed Jatt escape killed in Pulwama
Hilal was known for his skills in cricket and volleyball
Pulwama: A militant affiliated to Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen was on Tuesday killed in an encounter with government forces at Ratnipora village of Southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police spokesman said that following credible inputs about the presence of militants in Ratnipora village, a joint search operation was launched by 50RR, 183bn CRPF and SOG Kakapora.
As the search was intensified, the hiding militants fired upon forces from one of the houses, which was retaliated and triggered an encounter between the militants and the forces, which led to the killing of one militant and an Army man of 50 RR.
The encounter continued for several hours following which one militant body was recovered from the encounter site. The slain militant was identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather of BeghambaghKakapora village, who as per police was affiliated with Hizb outfit.
A police spokesman said that two security personnel also sustained gunshot injuries in the encounter and were rushed to a hospital. One of them, JawanBaljeet Singh, succumbed to injuries, the spokesman said, adding the other soldier is being treated.
As per official sources, at least two militants have managed to escape from the encounter site by taking advantage of darkness and stone pelting.
After performing legal and medical formalities, the slain militant’s body was handed over to his heirs for last rites.
According to the police, Hilal had joined militant group in February, 2018 and was involved in the escape of Pakistani militant NaveedJatt at SMHS hospital in Srinagar last year.
“Rather was the main accused in the escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant NavedJhatt from a Srinagar hospital,” Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) SwayamPrakashPani said.
The name of Rather, a class 12 passout, first surfaced when a Special Investigation Team, formed to crack Jhatt’s escape, found that he was the main conspirator. He had hatched a conspiracy with other militants to secure the release of Jhatt when he was taken to SMHS hospital for a routine check-up in February last year.
Jhatt was killed in an encounter with the police on November 28 last year in Budgam district of Central Kashmir.
“Hilal is survived by two brothers besides his parents. He was a BA 1st year student of Government Degree College Pulwama before he joined the militant group” said his neighbour.
Belonging to a middle class family, Hilal since childhood days had a liking for volleyball and cricket and was known in his area for sports skills” said his friend, adding that before joining militant ranks, he was never arrested.
“He left home same day when NaveedJatt escaped from SMHS. His brothers were arrested by forces several times after Hilal joined militant ranks, he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral of slain Hilal in Begum Bagh area of Kakapora, where he was laid to rest after multiple rounds of funeral prayers amid pro-freedom and pro-militant sloganeering.
Eyewitnesses said that thousands of people including women and children participated in his last rites who were chanting anti-India slogans.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama town and its adjoining areas including Kakapora Tehsil of the district while as internet and train services were also suspended following the gunfight in police district Pulwama.
Pertinently, clashes had also erupted between youth and government forces near the encounter site in which at least seven youth were injured by pellets.
Reports said that four among the injured were rushed to District Hospital Pulwama while three others were taken to Public Health Centre (PHC) Pampore, out of which two were shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment.