Colleagues and senior officers of a sub-inspector of police, who was killed in an attack in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district as he chased a group of militants on Wednesday, described his death as “a big loss” for the security forces.
Sub-inspector Altaf Ahmad, who was the head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police that investigates the use of technology by militants, was critically injured in the attack in Bandipora area, about 35km from Srinagar, and succumbed to his injuries later.
Inspector general of police for Kashmir range, SJM Gillani, called Ahmad “one of our best officers”.
“He has done tremendous work on anti-terrorism front and it is a big loss for us,” Gillani said.
Senior officers working with him said he was always on duty and never said “no” to any operation.
Ahmad, who joined Jammu and Kashmir Police as a constable, was credited with smashing of many of LeT hideouts, arrest of its cadres and generating intelligence that led to encounters in which cadres of the outfit were killed.
“He can be credited with 50% of operations that have taken place since 2008,” an official said.
Survived by his wife and two small children, Altaf received gallantry medals from the state as well as the central government. He received three promotions between 2007 to 2012, when the force was led by Kuldeep Khoda, who is now the chief vigilance commissioner of the state, for of his professional capabilities.
Preliminary probe indicated he became a victim of a trap laid by the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Altaf, who was known as the ‘24-hour duty cop’, got a “tip-off” about the presence of top LeT commander Abu Qasim in a nearby house in Bandipora area, about 35km from Srinagar, in the morning after reaching office. The officer boarded his official vehicle and moved towards the house.
According to the probe quoting eyewitnesses, a pick-up van started following him. When the officer reached a secluded spot in Gund Dachin area, the van overtook his vehicle and militants sitting in it fired two bullets on the left side of his chest and one on the right side.
He was airlifted to the army’s 92 Base Hospital in Badamibagh cantonment area in Srinagar where he succumbed to his injuries.
Besides top brass of the police, chief minister Mufti Sayeed, former chief minister Omar Abdullah, top army, paramilitary and senior intelligence officials paid homage to the officer.