SRINAGAR: Babu Ram (48), a police officer who was martyred in a gunfight at Pantha Chowk on the outskirts of Srinagar, had volunteered to join the Special Operations Group – the elite counter-insurgency unit of the J&K Police – nearly 18 years ago.
Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Babu Ram, who was recruited as a constable in 1999, had got two out-of-turn promotions in view of his “exceptional performance in various anti-militancy operations” in Srinagar district. He was also wounded in 2005.
Director General of Police, J&K, Dilbag Singh described the slain officer as a “very brave member of the SOG team, who had been a part of counter-insurgency operations for a long time”. A resident of Dharana Poonch village in the Jammu region, Babu Ram got recruited as a constable in 99 and after completion of his training, he voluntarily opted for SOG. Subsequently, he was posted in the SOG, Srinagar, on July 27, 2002. And for 18 long years, he remained posted in the counter-insurgency unit.
A senior police officer said ASI Babu Ram always volunteered to be part of the advance parties of the forces during all anti-militancy operations in Srinagar. “He was one of the finest fighters, who used to follow proper drills during the operations,” Superintendent of Police, operations Tahir Ashraf said.
He said when the cordon was being laid around Pantha Chowk on late Saturday, the forces were not sure about the exact house where the terrorists were hiding. “As a cordon was being laid, civilians from one house said no one was inside. However, the hiding terrorist opened fire from the very house critically wounding Babu Ram. He was admitted to 92 Base Hospital of the Army, where he succumbed,” SP Ashraf said.
Three local terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in the operation that ended on Sunday morning.