J&K: Authorities Bulldoze "Illegal" House of a Designated Terrorist in Pulwama
Image Courtesy: NDTV
Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir razed a house belonging to a designated militant, Ashiq Nengroo, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday, claiming that the structure was built on encroached state land.
According to an official posted in the area, the two-storey house was demolished by the district administration at New Colony in the rural Rajpora area of Pulwama. The house belonged to a wanted militant, Ashiq Nengroo, believed to be affiliated with Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) outfit.
The demolition has triggered a sharp reaction from militant groups, who vowed retaliation against the move. However, the threats posted through social media could not be verified independently.
The 34-year-old commander of the JeM outfit was earlier designated as a “terrorist” by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 18, 2022. In the MHA notification, Ashiq Nengroo was termed as one of the key handlers in the Kashmir militancy and is believed to be behind several “terror acts.”
He is currently believed to be based in Pakistan after he reportedly exfiltrated in 2018. Earlier, on September 5, Ashiq Nengroo’s 30-year-old brother Manzoor Ahmad Nengroo was found dead in an orchard in the Narpora village of Shopian. The Additional Director General (ADG) of Kashmir Police, Vijay Kumar, later said that Manzoor Nengroo’s killing resulted from “group rivalry” among the militant outfits.
Another brother of Ashiq Nengroo was killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in 2014, while the fourth brother Reyaz Nengroo is currently lodged in jail since 2018. Ashiq Nengroo was a truck driver and is believed to have ferried militants before his escape to Pakistan.
This is the first such instance in the region where the home of a separatist was demolished by authorities. This year several houses claimed by the police authorities to have been involved in aiding militancy or harbouring militants have been, however, seized and attached as per section 2(g) and 25 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The heightened action against militants and their alleged supporters comes after the government's renewed attempts or “zero tolerance” to wipe out insurgency from Jammu and Kashmir. Even as the militant-related incidents have fallen, there has been a rise in targeted violence against civilians by suspected militant groups, especially in the aftermath of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A.
This year, according to the data from the MHA, there have been 123 attacks – termed “substantial decline” - as compared to 417 in 2018 to 229 attacks in 2021. On December 7, Minister of State Home Nityanand Rai said that 14 persons belonging to minorities, including 3 Kashmiri Pandits, have been killed in the Union territory between January and November. So far, in 2022, as many as 180 militants have been killed whilst the number of security forces killed is 31. There also have been over 30 civilian killings so far.
In Pulwama, law enforcement agencies have also put up posters announcing reward money of Rs 10 lakh against the information regarding the whereabouts of four wanted individuals. The posters from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have listed Basit Ahmad Dar and Sajad Gul from Kulgam and Srinagar, respectively, and Saleem Rehmani and Saifullah Sajid Jatt, both from Pakistan as wanted for “terrorist” activities related to The Resistance Front (TRF), an offshoot of the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT).
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