Jammu and Kashmir police received a major setback on Wednesday when one of its most dedicated officers was killed in an encounter in Bandipora. Mohammad Altaf Dar was known in the department for his techno-savvy qualities and was popular as “Altaf Laptop”.
According to the police, Dar was killed when he received information that Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Abu Qasim, who is believed to be the mastermind of the Udhampur terror attack, would be meeting a group of militants in Bandipore.
“He and a few police officers were in a private car, pursuing a vehicle in which they believed Qasim and his associates were travelling. When they tried to intercept the vehicle, the militants fired at them. Dar was hit in the neck and abdomen,” a police officer said.
Dar, who hails from South Kashmir’s Kulgam district was known for making good use of technology to track down militants.
Quoting a police officer the Indian Express said that Dar even took a loan to buy a laptop to record their phone calls.
Dar started off as an assistant munshi at a police station. In his 15-year career, he was promoted four times.
A police officer said that he was once suspended when a criminal broke out of a jail just because he was the most junior official.
“He was working as a muharir (writer or assistant munshi) in a police station when a prisoner escaped from the lock-up,” a police officer said. “He was suspended since he was the most junior official.”
It was Dar’s intelligence inputs that led to the arrest of separatist leader Masarat Alam in 2010. He was reportedly behind the arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen commanders Gazi Misbah and Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, Junaid-ul-Islam.
He was also behind the 2012 arrest of a corrupt police officer was running a militant module that had conducted 13 attacks and killed many police officers.
Dar was later on attached to the office of the SP, Srinagar South. He was asked to head a separate counter-insurgency unit.
The report quotes sources in police department saying that the National Investigation Agency used to send its IPS officers to meet Dar so that they could understand the technicalities of handling counter-insurgency.
IGP Kashmir Syed Javaid Mujtaba Geelani said that the Dar was an asset to the department. “Altaf had done a tremendous job on anti-terrorism front. It is really a big loss for us,” he said.
Altaf is survived by his wife and two kids.
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Director General of Police K Rajendra, IGP Javaid Mujtaba Geelani and other police and civil officials paid floral tributes to the deceased cop.