Encounters between militants and security forces are a common feature in Jammu and Kashmir, but this encounter, which resulted in death of two militant commanders, is perhaps the most “unusual”. In a first of the kind, two top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders have been killed in an encounter with wild bear in Shopian district of the South Kashmir.
According to the Srinagar based Defence spokesman, Col JS Brar, troops of the Shopian based 9 Rashtriya Rifles recovered two dead bodies from a cave hideout in Dandaloo Nar area of Shopian. On closer scrutiny, troops found that both of the dead men were armed with AK-47 rifles and rug sacks.
Col Brar added that “Both bodies were mauled badly by some wild animal, and apparently by a bear, as the area is inhabited by Himalayan Black bear.”
The cave that the militants were using as a hideout seems to have been the den of the wild animal. The animal might have returned to the cave and attacked the duo.
“The attack seems to have been so violent that both the militants got no chance to fire back at the wild animal” Col Brar added.
On body search of the belongings, troops recovered ID cards which identified the dead militants as Hizbul Mujahideen District commander, Siafullah and tehsil commander Kaiser. Both of the dead militants belonged to Pir Panjal Regiment of Hizbul Mujahideen and were active from more than 5 years in the area.
Saifullah, according to police had recently taken over as district commander after the death after the death of dreaded commander Sadaam in an encounter with security forces, in September, 2009.
Troops recovered two AK-47 rifles and other arms and ammunition from the hideout. And since the hideout is located deep in the forest area, troops are now trying to bring down the dead bodies of the militants from the forest area.
According to the statistics of the wildlife department, out of the 300 odd incidents of the man-animal conflict reported in J&K last year, 4 districts of south Kashmir - Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama -reported the highest rate of incidents. But this is the first reported incident in which any militant has fallen to wild animals.