Srinagar: Kashmir University assistant professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat who is among five Hizbul Mujahideen cadres killed in a fire fight with security forces in southern Shopian district on Sunday had gone missing suddenly on Friday, leaving his parents, friends, colleagues and students a worried lot.
The University Vice Chancellor Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi reported the matter to the police immediately and then spoke to DGP, Shesh Paul Vaid, to seek his help in tracing the missing member of the faculty.
While the effort was underway, the police learnt about the presence of a group of militants in a private house in Badigam village of Shopian. The troops from Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles and men of J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) quickly launched a cordon-and-search operation in the village.
Meanwhile, Bhat made a last call to his father Abdul Rahim Bhat to bid farewell. He sought his forgiveness “if I have hurt you”.
The militants, said Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) SP Pani, were given a chance to surrender. Their families were brought to the encounter site and repeated appeals were made through public address system to them to give up arms and hand themselves over to law “but in vain”.
In the ensuing encounter all the five holed up gunmen including Bhat were killed.
Bhat, a resident of Chundhama village in central district of Ganderbal, had completed his PhD programme on whole time basis at the Department of Sociology of Kashmir University, Srinagar in November 2017. He completed his thesis titled ‘Globalization and emerging trends in consumerism: A comparative study in urban and rural Kashmir’ under the supervision of assistant professor Dr Mohmad Saleem Jahangir.
Bhat was soon appointed as a lecturer in the same department of the University.
Former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference (NC) working president, Omar Abdullah, wrote on Twitter, “Sadly this is also an answer to those who claim jobs & development are the solution to the violence & alienation in Kashmir. This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir.”
Syed Rizwan Geelani, education correspondent at a Srinagar newspaper, wrote on Facebook, “He was not a misguided youth. He had no complaints of a Job. He was a Doctor, a professor. He was a scholar. He was a Teacher-Builder of Nation. He was regular and punctual as a teacher in Department of Sociology in KU. Dear Professor, may your soul rest in PEACE.... AAMEEN SUMA AAMEEN”.
The University has been closed for two days from Monday and all examination scheduled during this period have been deferred “as a precautionary measure”....