SRINAGAR: Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar on Wednesday claimed to have pre-empted two major militant strikes in south Kashmir even as he termed the killing of Al-Badr chief as a major success for the security establishment.
Addressing a presser here, the top police officer of Kashmir also announced that stone-pelting would not be allowed at any cost and declared that most of the 39 youth arrested in connection with the last Friday’s incident at Nowhatta here are being booked under Public Safety Act, the legislation described as “lawless law” by the Amnesty International.
Referring to the killing of Gani Khawja at Tujjar Sopore late Tuesday evening, the IGP said Sopore police had received input and later informed the army and CRPF. The police, he said, reached the spot first and soon there was firing from inside. While two militants escaped when cordon-and-search-operation was started, he said, Gani Khawja was killed in the encounter joined by army and CRPF personnel later.
He said that Khawaja’s killing is a major success for the security establishment. A resident of Khawaja Mohalla Kralgund in Kupwara, the top militant had gone to Pakistan in 2000 for arms training and returned in 2002, he said.
He was arrested by police in 2007 and released in 2008, he said. After his release, he was involved in various stone-pelting and working as OGW before he went active again in January 2018, he said. “He left HM (Hizb-ul-Mujahideen) and become Al-Bard chief. All the newly recruited militants killed from Al-Badr outfit recently were recruited by him. He also used to receive new group from Pakistan in north Kashmir and distribute them in south Kashmir and other parts,” he said as per GNS, adding, “It is a big success as he was proactive in providing the logistic support.”
Regarding “pre-empting” IED blasts by militants in south Kashmir, the IGP said that one was about carrying out a vehicle-based IED blast by four persons, mostly “radicalized” through social media.
“One Sahil Nazir of Pampore, a BA first-year student, was motivated through Telegram.”
He revealed that he had bought an old vehicle (JK01E-0690) to be fitted with explosives being brought from north Kashmir,” he said. “Awantipora police also arrested his other associates including Kaiser Ahmad from Pampore, Mohammad Fayaz and Yasir Ahmad Wani.”
Sahil Nazir, he said, also gave a confessional statement which has properly recorded that he also carried out a grenade attack on CRPF at Pampore on January 25.
“IED was to be received from north Kashmir and now that he has been arrested it would come but we are after the OGW who was supposed to hand it over.”
In another preventive incident, he said, militants were planning to carry out a major blast at MC building Awantipora at the behest of one Omar Khanday, who joined the LeT militant outfit in October 2020 and killed two policemen at Baghat Chowk.
“We arrested one Musaib Ahmad Gojri of Nalbal Pampore and upon interrogation, he revealed that there is a container containing ammonia power 25 kg at his home. He also revealed the name of two more associates, Muneeb Mushtaq Sheikh and Shahid Ahmad Shah,” he said, “later we recovered the material from his home. They also revealed that other parts required for making the bomb were to come from north Kashmir.”
He said that in both cases, 7 persons have been arrested and hailed Awantipora police for preventive action.
Regarding a question on the stone-pelting incident at Nowhata Srinagar last Friday, he said: “I want to make it clear that we are not tolerating any stone-pelting. 15 youth have been identified and they are being booked under PSA. A total 39 persons have been arrested and based on identification from video, others identified will also be booked under PSA.”
Regarding sticky bombs, he said, “there is information that sticky bombs have arrived in Kashmir but it has not been recovered so far.”
“We have changed SOP and alerted all forces. I personally informed concerned at the airport and also appeal to people to share information.”