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DIG shot dead in Srinagar mosque after Id prayers

By Shujaat Bukhari



A brother of Mohammad Amin Bhat, DIG (Crime & Railways), who was killed in a militant attack, weeping over the body, in Srinagar on Monday. - Photo: Nissar Ahmad

SRINAGAR, FEB. 2. A militant today shot dead a Deputy Inspector-General of the Jammu and Kashmir police soon after he offered Id prayers at a mosque. One civilian was injured during the attack.

The `Save Kashmir Movement' has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said that Mohammad Amin Bhat, DIG (Crime and Railways), was coming out of the Barzulla mosque at 10.10 a.m., when a militant fired at him from point blank range with a silencer-fitted pistol inside the mosque compound.

The wounded DIG was taken to the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital but died on the way. The militant melted into the crowd.

Nazir Ahmed, a civilian, who was hugging the DIG to exchange Id greetings at the time of the attack, suffered injuries but is out of danger.

Mr. Bhat's son, who was accompanying him during `namaz', said the militant who fired at his father had also prayed in the mosque. His father's Personal Security Officer was waiting for him in his car outside the mosque.

The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir Zone, K. Rajindra Kumar, told The Hindu that police had no clue yet about the assailant. A case has been registered and investigation begun into the incident.

The Director-General of Police, Gopal Sharma, rushed from Jammu and laid a wreath on the body of the deceased police officer. Expressing shock over the killing, he said it was an act of cowardice. But he promised that the culprit would not be spared. A special investigation team was being set up in addition to the routine investigation.

A spokesman of the `Save Kashmir Movement' rang up newspaper offices and said the police officer was killed because of his anti-movement activities.

It is for the first time in 14 years of turmoil an officer of the rank of a DIG has been killed by militants. The 52-year-old Bhat had returned only a few days ago after completing a training programme in Mhow in Madhya Pradesh. He was now posted in Jammu but had come to Srinagar to celebrate Id with his family. A non-controversial officer, he had been posted outside Kashmir for most of the time during militancy. He had also served on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Mufti condemns killing

PTI reports:

Condemning the killing, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, in a statement from Saudi Arabia where he is leading the Indian Haj delegation, said, ``I am shocked to learn about the killing of Bhat. It is yet another senseless act to derail the peace process which has taken off in the State as per the sentiments of the people.'' The CPI(M) leader, Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, termed Bhat's killing as a ``tremendous loss'' to the State police and said ``his killing had led to a void in the State.''

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