A son of Syed Salahuddin, who heads the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen , was among the 100-odd civilians evacuated by the police from a building that militants stormed in south Kashmir’s Pampore last week.
Syed Mueed -- a 31-year-old information technology manager in the Entrepreneurship Development Institute -- was inside the main building when three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants ran inside and asked the civilians to leave.
“All of us raised our hands and jumped from windows,” said a colleague of Mueed. Outside, men from the Central Reserve Police Force had their guns trained at the building.
“We shouted that we are civilians as we rushed towards the hostel where many others were also trapped.”
People ducked and crawled to escape the bullets when police evacuation began. One gardener was hit by a bullet.
Mueed is one of three sons of Salahuddin, who heads the United Jehad Council – a militant conglomerate that has several extremist organisations under its umbrella, including the Hizbul. Salahuddin operates from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. One of his other sons is a doctor while another is a medical assistant.
All three militants died after a 48-hour-long gunbattle that also left three army men, two CRPF personnel and one civilian dead.
Local media quoted EDI director Ismail Parray as saying Mueed was among the employees and trainees evacuated from the complex.
But Mueed’s colleague disapproved of the “hoopla” surrounding the evacuation. “How is it a big deal? He is a civilian like us and is living a normal life. The media hype over the issue has perturbed him and his family. They are very scared,” he said.