Sunday, September 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Kukka Parray shot dead
Major, 3 jawans killed in attack on Army camp
Tribune News Service and agencies

Srinagar, September 13
In a sudden spurt in violence top counter-insurgent leader, militant-turned-politician and former MLA, Mohammad Yusuf Parray, was killed today with two of his associates here. The militants also carried out an attack on Army camp in Kupwara. Four Army personnel, including an officer, were killed in the attack.

Mohammad Yusuf Parray, alias Kukka Parray, was shot dead along with his two associates near his home-town of Hajin in Baramula district this afternoon. The police said that the militants hurled a grenade and followed it by firing outside the main market of Hajin, about 35 km north of here at 3.30 pm today. Others killed with him were identified as Mohammad Akram Rather and Wali Mohammad. Four of his entourage were also injured.

Kukka Parray, formerly associated with pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen, joined the mainstream early in 1994 and headed the Ikhawan-ul-Maslimoon, a major counter-insurgent group in the valley. He later constituted his political party, Awami League and was elected to the state Legislative Assembly from his home constituency of Hajin in the 1996 elections. He unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections from his home constituency of Hajin. Parray’s close associate and also a militant-turned-politician, Javed Hussain Shah, was also killed in a suicide attack at the Greenway hotel here on August 27 on the occasion of Inter-State Council meet.

The injured have been identified as Kukka Parray’s nephew Zahoor Ahmad, PSOs Ghulam Hassan Parray, Zahoor Ahmad and a counter-insurgent Abdul Ahad.

Considered as father of counter-insurgency in Kashmir valley, Parray is the second counter-insurgent-leader-turned-politician to be eliminated by militants within a span of 17 days.

According to sources, Parray was killed in the afternoon while he was going to attend the final match of a local cricket tournament organised by an Army unit posted in the area as the chief guest.

A police spokesman said that militants hurled grenades and opened heavy fire at Parray. Unconfirmed reports claimed that besides Kukka Parray, four others were killed (according to UNI) in the incident.

Two militant outfits — Al-Nasreen and the Kashmir Freedom Force — today claimed responsibility for the killing of “Kukka Parray”.

The two outfits claimed this in calls to a local journalist separately.

An ‘Al-Nasreen’ spokesman told local media organisations that they had assassinated Mr Parray and his associates for their “anti-freedom” movement in J&K.

Meanwhile, four Army personnel, including a Major, were killed and nine others wounded as two militants carried out a suicide attack on an Army camp on the Line of Control in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir in the wee hours today, a defence spokesperson said. 

One of the militants was killed after engaging the troops for nearly seven hours, official sources said.

The fate of the other militant was not known and in all probability he may have escaped, the sources said.

The two militants stormed the camp of Fifth Sikh Regiment situated in thick forests at Nildori-Pungus valley in Nowgam sector around 3.50 a.m. with one of them firing rifle grenades and the other hurling hand grenades and firing indiscriminately they said.

A Major and three jawans died on the spot and nine other Army personnel were injured in the attack, while one militant was killed in retaliatory firing by the security personnel, the spokesperson said.

They said militants took advantage of the camp being located in thick forests on the border and attacked it.

At least 3 persons were killed on the spot while 17 others were injured, some of them critically, in a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) blast at Bijbehara this afternoon.

An official spokesman said militants exploded an IED near the office of Public Health Engineering (PHE) at Bijbehara, home town of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, at around 4.40 p.m. when a security force convoy was passing through the area, resulting in on-the-spot death of 3 persons and injuring 17 others.

The two deceassed have been identified as Fayaz Ahmad Bhat and Farooq Ahmed Bhat, both employees of PHE Department.

The injured have been admitted to hospital, where the condition of some of them is stated to be critical.

Elsewhere in the valley, 12 militants, including four Pakistani infiltrators, were among 15 persons killed while the forces captured two militants and seized arms and ammunition during the past 24 hours.

Troops guarding the Northern sector detected a group of infiltrators attempting to cross over into India from across the border in Karnah sector late last night. The security forces challenged them and asked them to surrender.

However, the infiltrators opened fire, which was returned by the security forces resulting in the death of four militants. Some arms and ammuntion were also seized from the slain infiltrators, sources added.

In another fierce encounter at Boninar Klros three miliants were killed by the security forces, sources said, adding the encounter ensued during a search operation today. Sources said an encounter took place at Nowshera today during which two militants and a soldier were killed.

The encounter ensued after a search party was attacked by the militants. Some arms and ammunition were seized from the possession of slain militants.

Three militants of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed by the security forces in a fierce encounter at Sumbal in the early hours today.

Militants attacked a security force search party at Sultanpora Sumbal early this morning, sources said. The security forces retaliated and in the gunbattle, three LeT militants were killed.

Some houses were also damaged in the exchange of fire, sources said, adding three AK rifles and other arms and ammunition were recovered from the possesion of the slain militants.

The police recovered the body of Abdul Lateef from Kokernag today while militants shot dead Aijaz Ahmed Wani at Aripathan this afternoon. The security forces arrested two militants, one each at Anantnag and Shungus. A pistol, three grenades, three magazines and some rounds were recovered from their possession, sources said.

Meanwhile, pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen today said it carried out a series of attacks on the security forces to counter government claims that operation ‘Sarp Vinash’ in Surankote recently dented the striking capability of militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Indian (Army) commanders claim that operation ‘Sarp Vinash’ (at Hilkaka) has dented our striking capability but the attacks carried out by Hizb since the beginning of this month prove the claims are baseless and hollowm,” a spokesman of the outfit, Junaidul Islam, said in a faxed statement.

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