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Day after arrest, top Hizbul militant grabbed ‘hidden’ rifle, killed: Police

This is the third such killing in police custody in a month. A militant for 10 years, Halwai alias Ubaid was one of the most wanted militant commanders of north Kashmir.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: July 8, 2021 11:57:33 am
Security personnel during an encounter at Kralgund area of Handwara in North kashmir’s Kupwara district. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

A day after his arrest, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in a gunfight after he got his hands on an automatic rifle and opened fire on security personnel accompanying him during a search operation at his hideout in Handwara area of north Kashmir, J&K Police said on Wednesday.

This is the third such killing in police custody in a month.

Mehraj-ud-din Halwai, 35, arrested on Tuesday, had been taken to his hideout for recovery of arms, the police said.

The police statement did not mention whether Halwai was handcuffed at the time or how he got his hands on the rifle in the presence of the forces.

A militant for 10 years, Halwai alias Ubaid was one of the most wanted militant commanders of north Kashmir. According to the police, he was arrested during a joint search operation on the Sopore-Kupwara highway in Handwara.

“… one pedestrian was behaving in a very suspicious manner, who was tactfully apprehended by the joint party. During his personal search one grenade was recovered. Accordingly, he was immediately shifted to the nearest police post for questioning. During questioning, he identified himself as Mehraj-ud-din Halwai, an active terrorist commander of proscribed terror outfit HM,” a police statement said.

“On his disclosure, multiple CASOs [cordon and search operations] were launched… Upon reaching the disclosed hideout location, the said terrorist picked up his hidden AK-47 rifle and started firing indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which led to an encounter. In the ensuing firefight, the said terrorist got killed.”

On June 29, a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Nadeem Abrar, was killed a day after his capture by the police and CRPF in Srinagar. According to police, Abrar was killed when he was taken to his hideout to recover arms. They said a Pakistani militant hiding in the house opened fire leading to Abrar’s killing and injuries to three security personnel. On June 4, an inmate was killed inside a police camp at Tral. The police said Mohammad Amin Malik snatched the rifle of a policeman during questioning and opened fire. They said Malik then positioned himself in a camp building and was killed in a gunfight.

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