Two LeT militants planning ‘targeted killings’ arrested; 2 others at large

Identity cards, ATM and mobile phone recovered from the militants. -Excelsior/Parvaiz
Identity cards, ATM and mobile phone recovered from the militants. -Excelsior/Parvaiz

Kishtwar-like plot to revive terror in Ramban foiled

Agencies sound alert about 3 more distts

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 13: Army and police today foiled plot by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant outfit to revive militancy in Ramban district on the line of Kishtwar by indulging in “selective and targeted killings” when they arrested two LeT militants, hailing from South Kashmir, at village Hara in Gool area and recovered arms, ammunition and Indian currency from their possession.

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After reviving militancy in Kishtwar district by killing two top BJP and RSS leaders among others since November last year and carrying out other terror acts, the militants were now planning to revive the militancy in Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts, which had died down more than a decade back, official sources said but added that all security agencies were maintaining very high alert to ensure that these four districts don’t go the Kishtwar way.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, MK Sinha told the Excelsior that two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants have been arrested in Gool area of Ramban while two more were being searched in the mountainous areas, where they were reported to have fled after the arrest of their two colleagues by Army and police.
Describing arrests and recoveries as “big breakthrough”, Sinha said the militants have been shifted to “safe and secure zone” for sustained questioning to get details of their plan to revive militancy in the otherwise peaceful district of Ramban. He declared that security forces were determined to thwart the plots of terror outfits to disturb the peaceful areas.
Sources identified two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit arrested in a joint operation conducted by 58 Rashtriya Rifles, 9 Para and Police Component Gool at 3.30 am today, as Showkat Ahmed Sheikh son of Ghulam Nabi Sheikh, a resident of Charsoo, Awantipora in Pulwama district of South Kashmir and Taweef Mohi-ud-Din Dar son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Dar R/o Malipura, Kulgam. Going by their age, both the militants appeared to be fresh recruits.
They were arrested along with one AK-47 rifle with one magazine and 30 AK rounds and Rs 8771 worth Indian currency. Apart from this, police have also recovered identity cards and ATMs from the possession of militants and was trying to ascertain their genuineness.
Sources said the militants had travelled from South Kashmir to Gool area of Ramban and met their two contacts, both of whom have been identified by police but their identity was kept secret as they were still at large. At the time of police raid, two local militants of Ramban managed to escape taking cover of darkness in the area in the wee hours of the morning.
Army and police, however, conducted searches at various places throughout the day today in search of local militants of the LeT outfit but they remained untraced, sources said, adding the duo had become aware of arrest of two South Kashmir militants to whom they had given an AK rifle and appeared to have escaped to the mountains to avoid arrest.
Details revealed that one of the two absconding militants had given AK rifle to the militants, who had come to Gool from South Kashmir to revive militancy. It was being investigated from where the weapon had been received by the absconding militant, sources said, adding the Lashkar militants from Kashmir appeared to have come to indulge in “targeted killings” of the leaders of minority community on the pattern of Kishtwar.
However, sources said, timely arrest of the militants has averted what could have been Kishtwar-like catastrophes.
“Arrested South Kashmir militants were being handled by Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Naveed alias Abu Talla, who had deputed them to Ramban district with directions to revive militancy by indulging in killings,” sources said.
Talla was based in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district presently but, according to sources, he keeps shuttling from one place to another.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Udhampur-based Northern Command, Lt Col Abhinav Navneet said arrest of the militants foiled an attempt by the LeT to revive terrorism in South of the Pir Panjal range (Jammu region).
“Combined efforts of the Indian Army (Rashtriya Rifles) and police in the Gool area under Counter Insurgency Force Uniform delivered a major setback to the terrorist outfit in their efforts to revive terrorism south of Pir Panjal range,” Lt Col Navneet said.
He said both the militants are in their teens.
“The timely apprehension of suspected terrorists and recovery of war-like stores has thwarted the nefarious design of terrorist organisation to spread the ‘Arc of Terrorism’ south of Pir Panjal Range,” the PRO said.
It may be mentioned here that security agencies have already sounded an alert that Kashmiri militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen were planning to revive militancy in Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region after achieving success in doing so in Kishtwar district.
The militants had gunned down prominent BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar in the heart of Kishtwar town on November 1, 2018 and top RSS functionary, Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar inside the District Hospital Kishtwar on April 9 this year. On March 8, they had snatched the weapon of a PSO.
At least, eight militants were stated to be active in Kishtwar including the killers of Parihar brothers and Chanderkant Sharma.
SSP Ramban Anita Sharma and Additional SP Ramban Sanjay Parihar supervised police teams in the operation against the militants.