By Fahad Shah
On 28 December, 1999, one could have read a story in Rediff news about a burial place of a prisoner. It says “Afghani’s body lies in Jammu graveyard”. As going by the story it is about Sajad Afghani, “former chief Commander of the Harkatul Ansar who was killed during a jailbreak attempt in the high security Kotbalwal Jail on July 15, this year, lies buried in the graveyard at Gujjar Nagar, Jammu.”
I would not have been pondering to read about him. After all it is a usual stuff filled in newspapers. The point which hit my temple was to read the name of this deceased (Afghani) man again in newspapers.
After eleven years since Sajad Afghani was buried in Jammu he is killed in a shootout on foreshore road, Srinagar on March 11, 2011.
How a man resting in graveyard could be killed in Srinagar after eleven years?
In the Rediff story, the reporter writes, “Afghani, who was arrested in February 1994…The tall and well-built Sajad was the first chief commander of the Harkatul Ansar which was formed in 1993 following the merger of the Harkatul Jehadi Islami and Harkatul Mujahideen…On July 15, 1999, the foreign militants planned another escape from jail. A group of foreign militants including Sajad Afghani dug a 23-feet long tunnel inside a cell. A few more feet and all of them would have managed their escape, but the jail guards detected the tunnel. In the clash that followed, 11 prisoners, including Afghani, received serious injuries and succumbed in jail.”
The second death of Afghani came when police claimed to have killed two militants including the chief commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit in a shoot-out on the outskirts of Srinagar along the foreshore road on March 11, 2011.
In a press conference, Inspector General of Police, SM Sahai said the killed militants include JeM chief Sajad Afghani alias Qari Hamaad, and his body guard Umeer Bilal. “The duo hailed from Pakistan and was in Srinagar to establish bases for the outfit to launch attacks on forces, especially on police in the coming summer months.”
For a half dozen attacks (Attacks on CRPF personnel in June 2010…attack in Pattan during which two CRPF personnel were killed…attack on the residence of Superintendent of Police Sopore… planned the Qamarwari attack during which three motorcycle borne militants were killed in November last year) Sahai said Afghani was brain behind and was active for the last eight years.
Although I read in a newspaper that “the Maruti car in which the militants were travelling was peppered with bullets. Its tyres were deflated, windshields broken, and the blood was splattered even on the road. However, the magazine pouches displayed by the police bore not a single trace of bullet, and blood. There were also some AK magazines and UBGL grenades which were eaten by brown colored rust.
I still linger why was it that Afghani was killed twice?
Or are there many Afghani’s to die or have died before?