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LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen involved in spate of bank robberies: Kashmir police

A series of banks robberies in south Kashmir have occurred over the past 10 days, with the Jammu & Kashmir Bank stopping cash transactions in at least 40 branches.

india Updated: May 08, 2017 17:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lashkar-e-Taiba,Hizbul Mujahideen,LeT
Security forces in a bank after it was looted by suspected militants in Pulwama district of south Kashmir on May 3, 2017.(PTI File Photo)

A top police officer in Jammu and Kashmir said on Monday their investigation has revealed the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen militants in the recent armed bank robberies in south Kashmir.

Inspector general of police SJM Gillani also said some students were being instigated to pelt stones by “outside elements” by giving money and appealed to their parents to counsel them.

The Kashmir valley reported at least nine bank robberies and several such bids after the Centre announced the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes on November 8 with more than Rs 50 lakh looted.

Police say the string of bank robberies in the last few months is a sign of cash-starved militants trying to keep the funds flowing. Militants, however, have vehemently denied the allegations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi, issued a statement last Friday, saying it “doesn’t believe in heist”. “Robbing banks is not the work of militants. Honesty, truth and serving Kashmiri people is our core trait. This is an Indian agenda to malign us and has been planned in New Delhi,” he said.

The Jammu & Kashmir Bank stopped cash transactions in at least 40 branches in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts following the sudden spurt in bank robberies by gunmen.

Gillani’s comments about students came hours after chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said not every youth in Kashmir is a stone pelter and blamed national news channels for making the situation worse in the state that has witnessed a cycle of violence since last summer.

Student protests have become a new challenge for the administration in Kashmir where the law and order situation has gone downhill after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July 2016.

First Published: May 08, 2017 17:22 IST