4 militants, 6 OGWs arrested in killing of 3 civilians

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, May 9: Police today said that militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) are planning to create an atmosphere of terror in North Kashmir by eliminating those who are friendly with Government and security forces. Click here to watch video
Deputy Inspector General of Police, North Kashmir range, Dr Sunil Gupta, while addressing a press conference in Baramulla today said that the interrogation of the four militants who were arrested by security forces revealed that militants are planning to target Government and security forces friendly people. “…interrogation of these terrorists revealed that LeT terrorist handlers in Pakistan had given clear instructions to them to create atmosphere of terror in North Kashmir Range by eliminating as many civilians as possible who are perceived to be friendly with Government or security forces. This also explains the killings that had taken place in other parts of North Kashmir including Hajin and Sopore done by Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists”, he said.
Gupta said that barely days after the murder of three civilians in old town Baramulla, police has been successful in arresting the killers involved in this gruesome murder.
“On the evening of 30th April at about 8:35 pm, few unknown armed personnel made their appearance at Iqbal Market old town Baramulla and brutally assassinated three civilians on the roadside who were later identified as Haseeb Nabi Khan son of Ghulam Nabi Khan resident of Kakar Hamam Baramulla,  Irfan Ahmad Sheikh alias Asif Ahmad Sheikh son of Ali Mohammad Sheikh resident of Syed Kareem Baramulla and  Mohammad Asgar Sheikh alias Afsar Khan  son of Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh resident of Kakar Hamam Baramulla”, said the DIG North Kashmir.
Gupta said that the witnesses revealed that three to four militants appeared at the scene and fired several rounds on a group of youngsters and later disappeared towards Drangbal-Hajibal forest area after committing the murder.
“Baramulla police swiftly acted on the initial tips provided by the locals and several teams were tasked to carry out the searches in the forest area of Drangbal-Hajibal for nabbing the culprits. The entire area from forests of Hajibal to Drangbal stone quarries including Kirmani Colony Drangbal were put under constant watch. One of the teams deputed on a watch-out observed some suspicious movement inside the forest area and soon search parties were sent in to clear the air”, he said.
The DIG said that one militant was captured during a gun battle in the forests in injured condition. “When the search party started closing in around the suspicious area, terrorists hiding inside fired upon the search party. However, the search party in their measured response tactfully overpowered one terrorist who received minor injuries in this incident. The injured terrorist was immediately given medical treatment and the hideout in which four terrorists had been hiding was busted and some arms and ammunition were also recovered. Another terrorist Bilal Ahmad Najar alias Sameer son of Ghulam Ahmad Najar resident of Banglow Bagh Baramulla was nabbed after joint team of Police, Army and CRPF overpowered him near cremation ground earmarked for Sikh Community in the vicinity of Banglow Bagh”, he said.
Gupta said that on questioning the arrested militants revealed that LeT is involved in the killing of the three civilians. “After questioning the arrested terrorists, the involvement of outlawed terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba was established in this heinous crime involving murder of three innocent civilians on the evening of April 30th”, he said.
The DIG said that investigations revealed that four militants were responsible for the killing of civilians. “During investigation, it has surfaced that terrorists involved in the killings include Suhaib Farooq Akhoon alias Abu Huraira son of Farooq Ahmad Akhoon resident of Khanpora, Mohsin Mushtaq Bhat alias Shera  son of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat resident of Qazi Hamam Baramulla, Ajaz Ahmad Gojri alias Abu Umair son of Abdul Rehman, resident of  Jami Mohalla Baramulla (apprehended) and Bilal Ahmad Najar alias Abu Sameer son of  Ghulam Ahmad Najar resident of Banglow Bagh Baramulla (apprehended)”, he said.
He said that the investigations further revealed that one spotter Bilal Ahmad Najar son of Ghulam Ahmad Najar resident of Banglow Bagh Baramulla had actually tracked and spotted the movement of these three deceased young boys. He had been assigned the task of identifying and spotting the victims.”Three terrorists Suhaib Akhoon, Mohsin Mushtaq and Ajaz Gojiri opened fire using AK series rifles while as Bilal Najar used a Chinese pistol to commit the murder of three civilians”, he added.
He said that local militants were involved in the killings. “Since all the terrorists involved in this crime are locals of Baramulla, they were easily spotted by eyewitnesses, who immediately reported to Police. Earlier a Pakistani who was suspected to be involved in these murders as per the initial eyewitness accounts turned out to be Aijaz Gojri who had changed his appearance to create the impression of being a Pakistani”, he added.
The DIG said that of the 4 weapons used in the offence, 3 have been recovered and the empty cartridges seized from the scene of crime appeared to have same markings as discovered on the live cartridges recovered from the apprehended militants  and their hideout. “Two AK rifles,2 Chinese pistols, four hand grenades, 50 rounds of AK ammunition, four AK magazines and two pistol magazines were recovered from them”, he said.
Gupta said that after committing the crime, all four militants had fled from the spot in a silver Alto Car bearing registration number JK01J-0010 provided to them by one Uzair Amin Bhat son of Mohammad Amin Bhat resident of Chesti Colony Baramulla who has been also arrested along with the vehicle in the instant case.
He said that questioning of these arrested militants helped Police to unearth a LeT module operating in Sopore-Baramulla belt. “With this, 4 active terrorists of the LeT terrorist organisation have been apprehended along with 6 other Over Ground Workers (OGWs). Pertinently multiple raids by police, Army and CRPF in Sopore and Baramulla areas were launched to bust the terror modules. One kingpin of the module namely Nadeem Ahmad Dar alias Abu Osama, resident of Nowpora Kalan Sopore along with Suhaib Akhoon had been the main motivators and commanders of this group”, he added.
He said that Nadeem alias Abu Osama had provided all assistance to these militants in committing this crime including supply of arms.He had also transported them to Baramulla from Sopore in white Santro Car on April 25th. The said vehicle has also been seized. “He is said to be in direct contact with a Pakistani terrorist of LeT Hanzulla Adnan based in Pakistan”, he added.
“With such arrests, police and security forces were also able to solve the cases of 2 grenade attacks on Police Station Baramulla by apprehending one Naseer Ahmad Mochi resident of Amargrah Sopore, who was provided with grenades on two occasions by apprehended terrorist Ajaz Ahmad Gojri and he had subsequently lobbed them on Police Station Baramulla on 2.12.2017 and 22.01.2018 in which two policemen had sustained injuries”, the DIG said.
He said that the three militants involved in this crime had joined the ranks in October-November 2017 while as the fourth one Bilal Najar alias Abu Sameer had joined the ranks soon after murdering three boys on April 30. “The group along with other terrorists in Sopore-Handwara belt are commanded by one Pakistani terrorist operating by code name Abu-Maaz. Other known terrorist of this group Suhaib Akhoon had visited Pakistan in July last year on a valid Passport and visa from Pakistan High Commission and had been trained to handle arms at a LeT camp based in Faisalabad Pakistan. After returning via Wagah border he formally joined the LeT ranks”, he added.