It was Mumtaz Mir’s early morning routine to go to the kitchen that in a way helped foil a plan by the militants to strike in a big way in the border town of Poonch. It was only after she got to know about the presence of an unidentified gunman inside the kitchen that her husband rang up his brother in Jammu as early as 6 am to alert security forces in the area.
Haji Nazir Mir, 70, along with Mumtaz, 62), had come to his native Poonch town from Jammu nearly two months ago to supervise renovation work at his house, “Joginder Palace’’, which once was part of the 93 Brigade Headquarters and occupied by Army as “Officers Mess’’, recalled a family member. While the work continued at the ground floor, the couple occupied the first floor.
Pointing out that Nazir had got this building vacated from the Army following court litigation some years ago, his cousin, Dr Shamim Mir, said that since both the husband and wife were diabetic, they were in the habit of eating something early in the morning so as to have their medicines.
Muneer, who got a phone call from his younger brother, Nazir, at 6 am, told The Indian Express that Mumtaz, who went to the first floor kitchen as part of her daily routine, failed to open the door and then called the domestic help, Tariq.
As Tariq tried to force the doors open, the lone militant hiding inside fired at him and injured his leg. While the domestic help slipped to the ground floor, Mumtaz ran towards her bedroom. The couple then hid inside the adjacent bathroom, which the militant later locked from outside to prevent them from raising an alarm.
Recalling the phone call from his brother, Muneer said: “He requested me to inform the police and Army in Poonch….I immediately rang up my younger brother, Taj Mir, who while rushing to the spot also informed the local police about it.’’
Police reached there soon after. The encounter started after some time when terrorists opened fire on security personnel trying to enter the building.