Police on Monday claimed to have busted a module of the Hizbul Mujahideen by arresting seven suspected militants in Kashmir who were allegedly tasked to disrupt the upcoming Lok Sabha bypolls in the state.
The arrests were made in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, 70 kms off Srinagar, ahead of bypolls in Anantnag and Srinagar due in April.
“We have busted a module of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen militant organisation by arresting seven militants,” senior superintendent of police (SSP), Kulgam, Shridhar Patil told reporters on Monday.
He said the district police received a specific intelligence input on March 21 that the militant outfit has constituted a module to carry out attacks on security forces and disrupt the election process.
The self-styled district commander of the outfit Altaf Dar alias Al-Kachroo and Towseef Sheikh alias Mossad had constituted the module for allegedly disrupting the elections.
“We registered a case on the basis of this information and during investigation it was found that Zubar Ahmad Badar, a resident of Nai-Basti in Qaimoh area of the district, was the king-pin of this module. He was subsequently arrested,” Patil said.
The SSP said a pistol, three bullets and two AK-47 magazines were recovered from Badar’s possession. “During his questioning, we came to know about his associates and among them till now six have been arrested and we expect more arrests,” he added.
The police officer said the main aim of the module was to target security forces during the elections and they had even made a failed attempt in Bijbehara area of Anantnag on March 19.
“The arrest of these persons and recoveries made is a big achievement for us especially because of the elections,” the official said. He also claimed that Hizbul Mujahideen was trying to recruit new people”
The by-elections to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies are to be held on April 9 and April 12, respectively.
On 4 July, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who represented Anantnag in Lok Sabha, resigned, following her election to the Legislative Assembly. The Srinagar parliamentary constituency seat fell vacant in September after PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra resigned from the party as well as Lok Sabha.