Was involved in Bukhari’s killing: DGP
‘Will approach Pak for handing over body’
SRINAGAR, Nov 28: Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief commander, Naved Jatt, accused in the killing of noted journalist and Editor of daily Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, was among the two militants killed in a gun battle in Kuthpora Chattergam area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
A cordon and search operation was jointly launched by Police, Army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) early today in Kuthpora, Chattergam area. As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight in which three Army men were injured.
Two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. One militant fled from the site of the encounter after the security forces left from the encounter site. He has been identified as Riyaz Ahmad of village Kathur, Kakapora in district Pulwama.
Among the two militants, one has been identified as Naved Jatt alias Hanzalla who was commander in chief of LeT. He was involved in the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead outside his office in June this year along with his two security guards.
Mohammad Naved Jatt, 23, alias Abu Hanzalla, alias Chotu hailed from Boriwal, in Sahiwal Multan, Pakistan. He had joined LeT when he was just 12 and infiltrated into Kashmir in 2012. Police records suggested that he was trained for two years in Dakhan training camp before he sneaked into Kashmir from Athmuqam launching pad through Kupwara sector of the Line of Control (LoC).
Jatt was apprehended by police in June 2014. However, he managed to escape from the custody in the month of February 2018 while he was being taken to SMHS hospital Srinagar for medical treatment from Central Jail Srinagar. In a shootout that took place at the hospital, two policemen were killed.
Police had named him along with two associates, Azad Ahmad Malik and Muzaffar Ahmad in the killing of Shujaat Bukhari.
“He was part of Ajmal Kasab’s group at a Madrassa in Pakistan where he had undergone arms training. He was involved in killing of an ASI in Pulwama on May 2013, series of grenade attacks on security forces and killing of CRPF personnel at Awneera, Shopian in August 2013,” police said.
“Besides, he was also involved in conspiring and executing several bank robberies and terror attacks in South Kashmir including attack on Court Complex Pulwama in March 2014 in which two policemen were killed, attack on polling party in Shopian in April 2014 in which several civilians sustained injuries and one Presiding Officer Zai-ul-Haq Wani was killed, attack on police party at Bongam, Shopian in June 2014 in which several civilians and policemen were injured,” police said.
“He also figured as a suspect in the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari and his security personnel,” police said, adding that the case, which is under investigation, a hue and cry notice was issued against Naved Jatt and three others on the basis of material evidence collected.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken for case records and probe their complicity in other cases. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter,” police said.
Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh told a press conference here that since Naved Jatt was a Pakistani national, following the procedure competent authorities shall be approached in Government of India for taking up the matter with Pakistan for handing over his body to them.
Asked whether there are any details about Shujaat’s killing, the DGP said: “Arresting Naved alive could have helped in getting further details in the case. Since he was killed in the gunfight the things were not clear but the investigation is still going on over the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari and the details will be made public once the investigation is completed,” police said.
DGP said Naved’s killing is a big success and people will heave a sigh of relief after his killing. He added that the civilian atrocities, abduction, killings in South Kashmir were being done on his directions. He said that the police is targeting the top commanders and Naved was also one among them.
However, he said that the militant recruitments has decreased as militants have failed to make any recruitment for the last two months, which DGP said is indication that people are getting aware about the futility of violence.
Singh said besides recruitments, the stone pelting incidents have also decreased in the Valley, which is proof of people’s cooperation with the forces. “We are trying to ensure the operations without any collateral damage. The stone pelting incidents are have decreased but some incidents still there. Therefore, I appeal to the youth to stay away from encounter sites and stone pelting,” he said.
The DGP also appealed the militants to shun the path of violence. “I appeal to the militants to shun the path of violence,” he said, adding that Government is seriously pursuing the rehabilitation policy for those who have shunned the path of violence.
Asked how militants managed to post photos on social media, he said: “Everybody is trying to mark his presence so do the militants. They are posting photos and videos on social media to motivate more youth to join the militant ranks through their videos and photos,” he said, adding that the social media is accessible to all.
However, he while reacting on recent photograph of Umar Majeed Ganie of Hizb alias Hanzala that was taken near Ganta Ghar (Clock Tower), said that picture has been captured a long time back and was not a fresh picture. “They (militants) posted that picture with an aim to motivate more youth to join militant ranks,” the DGP added.
Meanwhile, the students of Kashmir University, IUST Awantipora and GDC Bemina held protests over the killings.
Scores of Kashmir University students staged a protest in the Varsity campus and marched through the Varsity campus.
And a Janata Dal (United) leader from Srinagar today survived a bid on his life when militants fired at his car in Hawal area of Srinagar.
A JD (U) leader Sajad Ahmad was heading to attend a party meeting when gunmen opened fire on his car near Bahauddin Sahab (RA) shrine in Hawal. However, he survived the bid on his life.
Militants this evening attacked residence of a Panch, in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Militants lobbed a grenade on the house of Panch Deedar Singh of Monghama Tral. The grenade exploded in the yard, resulting in partial damage to the windows, and no injuries were reported.
Police have taken cognizance of the incident and further investigations are going on.
In another incident, militants set ablaze the vehicle of PDP worker Mehraj Para in Litter village of Pulwama. Militants have also fired few aerial shots while fleeing from the spot.