Militants killed in Anantnag may be linked to Amarnath Yatra attack: Police
Police suspect the militants were involved in the Amarnath Yatra attack in which seven pilgrims lost their lives.india Updated: Jul 18, 2017 18:13 IST
Jammu and Kashmir Police is probing links of the three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants who were killed in an encounter in Anantnag district in South Kashmir late Monday night.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, IG Kashmir Muneer Khan said that the police were investigating the role of the slain militants in the attack as there was suspicion they were involved in the Amarnath Yatra attack in which seven pilgrims lost their lives.
“We are still investigating whether there is any role of these militants in the Amarnath Yatra attack. We can’t be firm but there is suspicion,” he said.
Nineteen of Indian Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and personnel of Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police had laid an ambush at Sheikh Mohalla-Watergam near Bulbul Nowgam —seven kilometres from Anantnag town — during which the militants were spotted in a vehicle.
Police officials said when the men were challenged they started firing at the forces, resulting in the killing.
Three militants — Showket Lohar, Muzaffar Hajam and Naseer Ahmad — all residents of South Kashmir were killed in the ambush.
Senior police officials claimed the militants killed were associates of slain LeT commander Bashir Lashkari alias Okasha who was killed in an encounter early this month at Brenthi-Batpora in Dialgam.
While the LeT had denounced the attack on the yatris and claimed they had no role in the attack, police had claimed that it was Lashkar which had carried out the attack on the bus carrying the pilgrims.
Police sources even suggest that the attack could have been to avenge Lashkari’s killing as militants attacked police parties at three different places before attacking the bus carrying the pilgrims. The police had maintained that the pilgrims’ bus had come under crossfire and was not the target.
Showket Lohar was said to be very close to Bashir Lashkari.
Jammu and Kashmir Police has formed a time-bound Special Investigative Team (SIT) to probe the attack. The SIT is being headed by DIG South Kashmir, SP Pani.