The killing of Abdul Rashid Parray commonly known as Rashid Billa by unknown militants Sunday has reminded people about the notorious era of Ikhwan in Kashmir. Billa was a former renegade of the infamous counter-insurgent militia force that had emerged in 90s. Stories of their terror are still recounted by many in the Valley. Billa was counted as one of the prominent named in that group. Those who know about that time say that his name used to send shivers among local people. He and his gunmen have allegations of being involved in several extra-judicial killings, rape, abductions and loot during the counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.
Among many cases, the one which haunted Billa till the end was the serial murder of seven people in a single day in 1996. On October 5, 1996, a group of Ikhwani's led by Billa barged into Sadrekoot-Bala. They killed four members of a family, including women. Then in the next house they shot dead another person named Saif-u-Din Dar.
WHO KILLED BILLA?
They didn't stop there. Two more villagers fell to his bullets that day. These murders were reportedly carried out right in front of other villagers. All these killings were done just to take personal revenge. An FIR stands lodged but no arrest was made for 21 years. It was only last year when the victims knocked the doors of the J&K High Court that some action was seen. The court directed police to produce Billa but they said he was missing. The HC also passed directions to seize his properties.
Surprisingly, while the police had been saying "he can't be traced", he was Sunday night killed in his own house at Hajin. Billa's son Fayaz Ahmad Parray claimed his two neighbours, along with two other masked armed persons, had come to their residence Sunday and killed his father. "Two neighbours came to our house and asked us to open the gate. There were two other youths with them, who were not from here. Their faces were maskmasked and they were carrying guns," he said.