Mehran had systematically targeted members of the minority community
Mehran Yaseeh Shalla, a poster boy of The Resistance Front (TRF) in Srinagar, was neutralized by Srinagar Police along with two other militants on November 24. Intensifying terror in the Valley, 20-year-old Mehran had taken the lead in identifying and killing members of the minority community with chilling hostility. Such targeted cold-blooded killings shockwaves through in the Valley.
On October 5, Mehran killed Dr Makhan Lal Bindroo, a top chemist whose pharmacy was highly popular among the Kashmiris. The killing was mourned widely and decried. Kashmir was still grieving over the killing of Dr Bindroo when Mehran and other militants struck again, with an equally shocking attack. On October 7, Mehran and other militants killed two school teachers of the minority community, including a woman, at a government school in Srinagar. Eyewitnesses later said that Mehran and the other militants isolated the Sikh Principal of the school, who was a woman, and the Hindu teacher, and gunned them down.
On November 8, Mehran and other militants gunned down a salesman named Mohd Ibrahim Khan in Srinagar, mistaking him for his Kashmiri Pandit employer. Khan worked at a grocery shop run by a Kashmiri Pandit in Bohri Kadal.
Mehran – The Killing Machine
Mehran’s dark criminal profile was in complete contrast to his life before he turned to militancy in May this year. According to his family, Mehran was a very shy boy. He was a student of B.Com (Honours) and was working as a delivery boy for a store. He left his home on May 18 to join militancy and did not return. His family members and also the police carried out massive searches to trace him, but could not locate him. Later, his audio clip went viral on social media pleading his family members not to search for him as he had joined TRF. Police investigation has revealed that after joining the terrorist group, Mehran turned into a killing machine. According to highly authoritative sources, 11 more people from various walks of life were on the immediate hit list of Mehran in Srinagar city.
Many Killings Averted After Police Neutralized Mehran
Those who were on the top of Mehran’s hit list included members of the minority community, some media persons and political activists. Mehran’s group, which included the two militants killed with him, were also hunting for and killing non-local labourers . They had identified two spots where they adopted the hit and run strategy. One was at or around Nowgam Chowk, and the second spot was Rambagh bridge. These are the two locations where he, other militants and the Over Ground Workers (OGWs) in their network remained available for being used as contract killers. Mehran’s killing has averted major human tragedies in the city.
Mehran got in touch with TRF chief and notorious killer Abass Sheikh. Police investigation reveals that Abbas trained Mehran for the brutal killings. The target would be identified in consultation with TRF handlers in Pakistan. Thereafter, Mehran would make the plans for executing those identified for being killed. Since Mehran had earlier worked as delivery boy in a local store, he was closely aware of the topography of most areas in Srinagar. He was familiar with even the most interior streets in Srinagar city. Police sources say that Mehran would a recce of the area before execution and take minute details on how to flee after the attack. Mehran had seven OGWs with him, who executed the target.
According to sources, security forces have identified Mehran’s OGW associates, and they shall be arrested soon. Sources say that Mehran had at least one girl associate in his team who would provide for the logistics for the attack as per the requirements.
Mehran Provided Logistics to Other Militants and OGWs
With Mehran’s killing, it is likely that his associates may join terrorist ranks. Police are investigating whether these OGWs and contract killers were in contact with any other active militants. If they were not in touch with other active militants, there are higher chances that they may go into hiding now. This depends on whether Mehran’s handlers in Pakistan have any information about his OGW network.
Police have learned that Mehran also coordinated on behalf of other militant organizations for their operations in Srinagar city. According to sources in security agencies, Mehran had received nine militants from South Kashmir for targeted attacks. After these were carried out, they were sent back. These militants were stationed in the Nowgam area for the last one month. They had been given pistols and were told to eliminate soft targets. The two militants who were killed in Rambagh along with Mehran have been identified as Manzoor Ahmed Mir and Arafat Ahmed Sheikh from the Pulwama district.
The news that broke out initially on social media was that Basit, a militant hailing from Redwani, Pulwama, had been killed with Mehran. This too has a context. According to police sources, there were reliable inputs that Basit had reached Srinagar from Kulgam district just a couple of days before Mehran’s killing. Sources confirmed that Basit was in the same vehicle but he managed to flee from the spot.
How The Police Managed to Neutralize Mehran
The police received specific inputs that four militants were traveling in a Santro car and were going towards Nowgam. Police acted swiftly and swung into action, and set up cordon nakas in the area. When the police intercepted the car, the militants opened fire with pistols. In a swift counterattack, police managed to neutralize three militants including Mehran, while Basit managed to flee from the spot.