| Abdul Majid Dar
Srinagar, March 23: Former Hizb-ul Mujahideen operations chief Abdul Majid Dar, who created ripples by announcing a unilateral ceasefire in July 2000, was today gunned down near Sopore in north Kashmir.
Police sources said Dar, along with his mother and sister, had gone to Noorbagh — his ancestral place — to supervise the construction of a house.
As the former Hizb leader was leaving the site in his Maruti car in the afternoon, militants, who lay in ambush, opened indiscriminate fire from automatic weapons, critically injuring all three of them.
Dar, his mother Shah Begum and sister Rehana were rushed to Sopore hospital. The car was damaged in the firing.
“Majid Dar succumbed to injuries in the hospital while his mother and sister have been shifted to Srinagar in serious condition for specialised treatment,” said a police officer in Sopore.
Security forces rushed to Noorbagh and scoured the area. A hunt has been launched for the killers. A militant outfit, al Nasireen, claimed responsibility for the killing.
Dar, known for his proximity to Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin, quickly rose to number two in the outfit.
But his unilateral ceasefire decision threw up the first suggestions of a rift though Salahuddin quickly took responsibility for it in a bid to, an analyst said, “save the Hizb from a definite split”.
Having wrested the ceasefire initiative from Dar, Salahuddin proceeded to undo it.
| Dar’s relatives mourn in Sopore. (AFP)
“This strategy stood him in good stead when 15 days later Salahuddin suddenly withdrew it,” the analyst added.
In the fortnight that the ceasefire held good, then Union home secretary Kamal Pande — the Centre’s Kashmir interlocutor — travelled to Srinagar and met four top Hizb commanders deputed by Dar.
The withdrawal of the ceasefire and the subsequent escalation in violence undermined Dar’s standing to a large extent, but he claimed he had the support of some Hizb commanders.
He was expelled from the outfit in 2001 though he always claimed to be in it.
Two top militants were gunned down by security forces at Devsar village in Anantnag district last night, police said.