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Jolt to counter insurgency

The death of People’s Patriotic Front [PPF] chief Ghulam Nabi Mir alias Azad Nabi is considered as a big jolt to counter-insurgents in kashmir. Azad, who at first was a pioneer of anti-india militant activities, was gunned down by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants on 16 June at his Shuhlipora Achabal residence about 40Km from Srinagar. A constable driver in the 7th Btn of state armed police, Azad deserted the force in 1989 and crossed to the other side of the line of control (LoC) for arms training. On his return, he joined the front-ranking militant organization HM and rose to the position of district commander.

Later when the then HM chief commander Master Ahsan Dar left the outfit to form Muslim Mujahideen, Azad joined the new outfit. On Ahsan’s arrest, Azad became chief of the Muslim Mujahideen and established ties with the Army. Muslim Mujahideen, headed by Azad Nabi, was the first and only outfit which on the whole surrendered to the army. After joining hands with the Army, Azad and his surrendered outfit actively worked against active militants. A large number of militants, their commanders and civilians were killed by Azad during his counter-insurgency activities. People of Pattan remember Azad as a disgusting figure as he started his anti-militancy activities from this area. Some residents of Pattan said that Azad had, during his activities in the area, gunned down more than 200 people, mostly militants, their relatives and sympathisers and activists of Jamaat-e Islami Kashmir. However, during his counter-insurgency activities in Islamabad (Anantnag) region, Azad is believed to have confined himself to extortion and not many deaths occurred at his hands there, it is said.

Azad had escaped a number of earlier bids on his life. HM, while claiming responsibility for killing Azad, asked all those who had surrendred to disassociate from ‘anti-movement’ activities. After forming the PPF in 1995, Azad Nabi became its patron and contested 1996 assembly elections and the 1998 Lok Sabha election, though unsuccessfully. After the formation of the NC government in the state, Azad supported it for sometime. However, of late reportedly his ties with the state government as well as army were not quite cordial.

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