Lateef Ahmad Rather, Rahul Bhat's killer, eliminated by security forces
Rather, a resident of Badipora Chadoora, had joined terrorism in 2000 and was imparted training in handling illegal weapons locally by the outfit cadres.
In a major breakthrough, three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including Lateef Ahmad Rather who was involved in several civilian killings including Rahul Bhat and TV actor Amreen Bhat in May, were killed by security forces in an encounter in the Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. The Kashmir zone police said the encounter had begun at the Waterhail area of Budgam.
Rather, a resident of Badipora Chadoora, had joined terrorism in 2000 and was imparted training in handling illegal weapons locally by the said outfit cadres.
Later, he was involved in various terror activities, including random firing and some brutal killings. But in 2001, Rather was arrested. He was released after more than two years, but he did not shun the path of terrorism and carried out terror activities in Cahdoora, Pulwama area.
At the beginning of 2012, Rather hatched a conspiracy with Yousuf Lone of Gadoora Pulwama (LeT commander) and Abu Qasim of Pakistan for attacking Silver Star Hotel located at Nowgam bypass.
Rather and his associates Nissar, Sajad and Showket agreed to provide all kinds of facilities such as communication (mobile phones, SIM cards) transport, etc. and finally carried out an attack on the hotel in which he and Nissar assisted Abu Qasim, killing two civilians.
The Silver Star attack boosted the morale of Rather and he agreed to carry out more attacks, and random shootouts in Chadoora area. He was assigned the task to eliminate some prompt political leaders, panchs and sarpanchs.
He was again arrested in Chadoora on November 30, 2012. After his release, he again hatched a conspiracy to kill SHO Chadora Shabir Ahmad in 2013. Rather was later arrested for killing the SHO. He was released in 2021, but after a month, he joined The Resistance Front (TRF), an outfit of LeT.
Involved in multiple attacks in 2022
On March 22: Rather along with his associates fired indiscriminately upon a police party at Zoonimar Eidgah, leading to an encounter, but they managed to escape from the spot. One police personnel Amir Hussain was killed in the attack.
On April 22: Rather along with his associates fired upon two outside labourers identified as Najamul-Islam and Anikul-Islam, both residents of West Bengal, at Suthsoo Kalan area of Nowgam. In the incident, the labourers received gunshot injuries.
On May 7: Rather along with his associates fired upon a police constable, identified as Ghulam Hassan Dar, on Dr Ali Jan Road in Srinagar. Dar died while being taken to the hospital.
On May 12: The terrorist along with his associates killed an employee, identified as Rahul Bhat, at Tehsil Office Chadoora. The attack led to massive outrage from Kashmiri Pandits who demanded protection from the government.
On May 24: Rather along with his associates fired indiscriminately on police personnel Saifullah Qadri, a resident of Ganie Mohalla Anchar, outside his house. In this attack, Qadri and his nine-year-old daughter received critical gunshot injuries and were immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital. However, Qadri succumbed to his injuries.
On May 25: Rather along with his associates fired upon Amreen, a resident of Hushroo Chadoora, at her home and her 10-year-old boy. Amreen succumbed to her injuries.