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May 24, 2018
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Police suspect ultras nixed Prof’s surrenderIn a new twist to the operation involving the killing of five militants in Badigam village of Shopian on Sunday, the police are investigating why Kashmir University Assistant Professor Rafi Ahmad Bhat was not able to come out as the police officers who led the operation are certain that the Professor had been convinced by them to surrender before getting killedThe police have sought ballistic and medical opinion of gunshot wounds sustained by the slain Professor to ascertain whether he was “prevented from surrendering” by other militants or “shot” or he had “changed his plan to surrender at the last moment”.During the combing operation of the gunfight site, apart from the assault rifles of the slain militants, the police have also recovered a pistol from the possession of the slain militants, sources said. The other four militants killed in the Sunday encounter have been identified as Saddam Padder, Adil Malik , Bilal Moulvi, all hailing from Shopian district, and Towseef Ahmad Sheikh of the neighbouring Kulgam district.In the operation, which was led by Shopian SSP Shailendra Kumar Mishra along with formations of the Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF, four hardcore and longest-surviving militant commanders of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed along with Assistant Professor Rafi, who had gone missing on May 6 (Friday) after delivering a lecture to students at Kashmir University.“We handled the operation professionally employing all the SOPs (standard operating procedures) required. Besides, I put in all my efforts and time to motivate the trapped guys, particularly the Assistant Professor, to come out and surrender,” SSP Mishra said, who is also seen in a video at the encounter location, asking the trapped militants to stop the fire and come out.“As per the understanding reached during those crucial moments, the Professor was supposed to take out all his upper garments to make sure he came out unharmed. The family of Dr Rafi was so confident that he would surrender that his father, brother and wife set out from Ganderbal to Shopian,” he said.In the video when the SSP is appealing to the militants to surrender, a background voice of a security man points to the cover fire by the forces. Mishra, however, clarified: “It was not cover fire. It was the fire from the militants from inside the building when I was asking them to surrender,” he said.In fact, one of the trapped militants, Bilal Moulvi, who was finally killed, is said to have talked to the police for about five minutes. He had been assured that if he came out, he wouldn’t be harmed.“During an active operation, both sides have a little time to decide. Taking that into consideration, we gave enough time to the militants, particularly the Assistant Professor, to surrender,” the SSP said.Going by the events, the police are suspecting that the Professor was prevented from coming out of the building by his companions.“We have taken the photographs of the gunshot wounds of the Professor and other evidence for the ballistic opinion to find out if the wounds were sustained by the bullets fired by the militants or our forces,” Mishra disclosed, adding that the police did not have specific inputs about the presence of the Professor along with four hardcore Hizb commanders in the house.“The intelligence was of general nature. We came to know later that the missing Professor was also there with them, and that was surprising,” he said.The conversation that Rafi had with his father wherein he asked for his forgiveness, as reported in a section of the media, appeared to suggest that the Professor was not ready to surrender. The SSP, however, said: “We have not heard that conversation between the father and the son”.Incidentally, SSP Mishra is the same officer who last year at a function in Mumbai had labelled the killings of Kashmiri militants as “our collective failure”.Shopian gunfight: What SSP said… 

  • We handled the operation professionally employing all the SOPs (standard operating procedures) required. Besides, I put in all my efforts and time to motivate the trapped guys, particularly the Assistant Professor, to come out and surrender
  • As per the understanding reached during those crucial moments, the Professor was supposed to take out all his upper garments to make sure he came out unharmed.
  • The family of Dr Rafi was so confident that he would surrender that his father, brother and wife set out from Ganderbal to Shopian (the encounter site).
  • We have taken the photographs of the gunshot wounds of the Professor and other evidence for the ballistic opinion to find out if the wounds were sustained by the bullets fired by the militants or our forces