The notorious government gunman, Abdur Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa, was on April 16 evening shot dead by the suspected militants at Hajin home in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. According to Zulfikar Azad, the Superintendent of Police Bandipora, two militants barged into the house of Billa at around 10 pm and opened fire at him, indiscriminately and killing him on the spot. Billa wasn’t taken to hospital as he died instantly, police said.
Here are some interesting facets of his life:
- Billa was reportedly wanted, involved and convicted in numerous cases, including massacres. But he had been evading his arrest for years and was shown as “non-traceable” in police records.
- He was part of the terror outfit ‘Ikhwan Ul Muslimeen’ run by Muhammad Yousuf Parray alias Kuka Parray—a folk singer who picked up arms to become a militant and later, surrendered to head the Ikhawan. Billa was among Parray’s trusted lieutenants.
- He was the main accused in the 21-year-old Saderkoot massacre. On the fateful day of October 5, 1996, seven persons, including two women, were killed allegedly by this government gunman.
- One of the cases pending against Billa pertains to blowing off a man with a landmine. On January 22, 1999, Gulzar Ahmad Bhat failed to pay extortion money to Billa. Bhat was asked to pay a ransom of Rs 50,000 as punishment for tearing apart a poster of Kuka Parray during election campaigning. Though Bhat’s family showed to local Army camp video evidence of having paid the ransom, Billa allegedly got furious and blew apart Bhat in a nearby forest. The victim’s family gave into the fear and didn’t pursue the case.
- In June 2016, Billa was declared as proclaimed offender by the High Court and his property was sealed by a local court. Even after that, he continuously threatened the victim families of ‘dire consequences’.
- Despite staying underground, two years ago, he issued a statement that he would be rechristened as Ikhwan commander on June 3, 2015. The statement had come a few days after the then defence minister of India Manohar Parrikar said, “Terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists.”
- Billa was a government servant with Rural Development Department. As per the reports, he continued to get government salary even after joining Ikhwan Ul Muslimeen and assassinating civilians.
- He had subsequently joined mainstream politics. He was a senior leader of Awami League. But after Jammu and Kashmir High Court tightened the noose, he went underground.