Jaish-e-Mohammed "chief commander" Sajad Afghani was killed in an encounter in Srinagar on Thursday, with police claiming this as a major success.
Afghani alias Qari Hamaad was killed along with his “bodyguard” Umeer Bilal in an area close to Dal Lake. Police say both were foreigners. The encounter, which started at 3.40 pm, took place following a tip off.
“We had inputs that the militants were travelling in a Maruti car. We intercepted them and they opened fire,” said inspector general of police SM Sahai. “They were killed in retaliatory fire,” he added.
Sahai said the militants had “just done a recce of the city centre Lal Chowk. The ammunition recovered indicates they were planning to carry out some major attacks in Srinagar.”
Police said the commander had been involved in masterminding all major action in and around Srinagar.
“He was involved in the Qamarwari attack, in which two militants were killed on the outskirts of the city in October last year, and also had sent militants who were killed in Maloora in the same month,” Sahai said, adding, “he was also responsible for the attack on the SP of Sopore on December 5, 2010.”
“He was active in Sopore, Rafiabad and Zainageer.”
The encounter caused minor protests in the area because some residents believed that the two were “locals”. Some alleged the encounter was fake.