Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) handlers across the border directly steered the March 13 suicide attack on CRPF personnel in Srinagar, says state police.
“The attack was carried out at the behest of LeT operational commander Ahmad Bhai and logistics chief Anas Bilal, who are based across the Line of Control (LoC),” said inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Abdul Ghani Mir.
Mir, did not specify about the location of the two LeT handlers but said a transparent poly-pack containing ‘Made in Pakistan’ medicines and ointment were recovered from the slain militants.
On March 13, five CRPF jawans were killed when two suicide attackers hurled grenades and fired at CRPF personnel at sports ground of Police Public School at Srinagar’s Bemina area.
Five CRPF personnel were killed in the attack and 10 others, including four civilians, were injured. Both the attackers were also killed.
The police investigation, which is over now, identifies the attackers as residents of Pakistan. “The slain militants were Saif, a resident of Dera Ghazi Khan, and Haider, a resident of Multan, Pakistan,” said Mir.
Ruling out that all attackers had come in the wake of execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Mir said, “The preliminary investigations have revealed that Talha Zaraar had come to the valley in the first week of January, 2013. Saif and Haider entered into the valley in mid-February this year”.
Zaraar was arrested a day after the attack from Srinagar on the information provided by a local Bashir Ahmad Mir, a resident of north Kashmir’s Uri area, who was a released from jail. Mir’s role was nailed after a SIM card was found on the body of a slain militant revealing his name.
The inspector general of police refused to confirm if the attack was to avenge Guru’s hanging. “Our investigations do not reveal that till now,” he said.
The police claimed to have arrested three locals for providing logistic support to these militants. Besides Mir alias Haroon, the police have arrested Pradeep Singh of Baramulla and Mukhtar Shah of Uri. Both are accused of providing logistic support and shelter to the militants.
The arrested militants, according to Mir, revealed the CRPF personnel in close proximity to youngsters playing cricket were purposefully chosen as a target since that would allow them to inflict maximum damages and had the potential to lead to civilian causalities as well.
“Since the strike call had been announced by the separatists, the main handler was sure to find CRPF personnel deployed on the highway and usual presence of unarmed CRPF personnel deployed as standby component for law and order. It had attracted his attention many a times in the past as well,” said the IGP, Kashmir.
The police claim to have recovered huge arms and ammunition during the investigation, “in which the entire LeT module has been busted”.
“Upon disclosures made by the arrested militants, the police seized two AK 47's, one UBGL, 40 rifle grenades, 40 hand grenades, two pouches, two anti-tank mines, one Map, three GPS devices, two wireless sets, two time bombs,” said the police investigation.