Saddam Padder, KU prof among 5 ultras killed in J&K encounter

A professor-turned-militant and most wanted commander Saddam Padder were among five Hizb-ul-Mujahideen ultras killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday morning.

 

Three civilian protesters were also killed in subsequent clashes that erupted in various parts of Shopian as hundreds of protesters threw stones at the security forces to help the militants break the cordon.
 
State police chief Shesh Pal Vaid confirmed that five militants were killed in the encounter. He said bodies of all the slain ultras have been recovered from the gunfight site that erupted after army’s 44-Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group of state police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) at Badigam, Zainapora in Shopian on a tip-off about the presence of militants.
 
Reports said Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian, Shailendra Mishra used public address system to offer the militants an option to surrender. However, they responded with bullets, injuring an Army personnel and a policeman.
 
As the news about the encounter spread in the area intense clashes broke out between stone pelters and security forces in which several protesters were injured. Three of them identified as 17-year-old Asif Mir Sajad Ahmad Rather and Adil Ahmad later succumbed to their injuries in different hospitals.
 

 

One of the slain militants has been identified as Mohammad Rafi Bhat, an assistant professor in the Sociology department of Kashmir University, who had reportedly joined Hizbul just last week. Police had brought in Bhat's parents from his native Ganderbal area to convince him to surrender, but he refused.
 
Bhat had gone missing only on Friday and as per family, they had no whisper about him joining the militant ranks. The family of the Bhat then approached the University authorities who wrote to police about the case and later a missing report was registered by the police.
 
Besides Bhat, the most wanted commander of Hizbul Saddam Padder, who was a close associate of slain Burhan Wani, was also killed in the six-hour long gun battle. The other slain militants were identified as Tawseef Sheikh, Bilal Moulvi and Adil Ahmad, all locals.
 
The latest encounter came barely a day after three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed in a similar encounter in Chattabal area of Srinagar city.

Professor’s killing “answer to those who claim jobs solution to violence”: Omar
 
Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Sunday termed the killing of a Kashmir University professor as “an answer to those who claim jobs & development are the solutions to the violence & alienation in Kashmir”.

 

“Sadly this is also an answer to those who claim jobs & development are the solutions to the violence & alienation in Kashmir. This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir (sic),” Omar tweeted immediately after the killing of Muhammad Rafi Bhat, who taught at the sociology department of the varsity.

 

Bhat was among five Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district earlier in the day. He had joined the militant ranks just last week.

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Saddam Padder, KU prof among 5 ultras killed in J&K encounter

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