New Delhi: Ten out of the 11 terrorists identified by security forces as those responsible for the recent spate of deadly attacks on civilians and policemen in Kashmir Valley have been killed in encounters, with only one still elusive, ThePrint has learnt.
According to sources in the defence and security establishment, 11 terrorists believed to be responsible for the attacks had been identified. All are suspected to belong to the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) front — The Resistance Front (TRF).
The one still elusive has been identified as Basit Dar, who allegedly shot dead the popular Kashmiri Pandit chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo at his shop in Srinagar last month. His suspected accomplice Shahid Khurshid Dar was killed by security forces in an operation in Drangabal on 16 October, the sources said.
Both Basit and Shahid had joined the TRF in February this year, records available with the security forces show.
A series of killings in Kashmir in the past few weeks — primarily targeting civilians, including Kashmiri Pandits, migrant workers and local Muslims seen to be aiding the security forces — have caused much concern among security agencies.
The attacks, the sources said, led to fears that the situation was growing similar to the one in the 1990s, when Kashmiri Pandits were singled out and forced to leave the Valley under the threat of violence.
A high-level team, they added, was subsequently sent from New Delhi to Srinagar to coordinate action on the ground.
Under the operation, called “Insaaf” or “justice”, efforts soon began to track down the terrorists, they said.
The terrorists who were killed
The biggest breakthrough, the sources said, was on 24 November, when terrorist Mehran Yaseen Shalla was killed in an encounter with police in Rambagh.
Shalla, a gangster-turned-terrorist, was allegedly the person who pulled the trigger at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School at Safa Kadal, Srinagar, on 7 October, killing principal Supinder Kour and teacher Deepak Chand. It is suspected that a total of four LeT recruits were involved in the attack on the school.
Mukhtiyar Ahmed Shah, the alleged perpetrator behind the killing of street vendor Virender Paswan on 5 October, was killed in an encounter on 15 October, the sources added.
Gulzar Ahmed Reshi, who was allegedly involved in the killings of two Bihar labourers in Kulgam on 17 October, was killed by security forces on 20 October in an encounter, the sources said.
According to the sources, two other terrorists, believed to be involved in attacks against police personnel since the beginning of 2021, were killed in different operations as well.
Tanzeel Nabi Sofi, who allegedly shot dead J&K Police Sub Inspector Arshid Ahmad Mir at Khanyar in Srinagar on 12 September, was killed by security forces on 15 October in Srinagar, the sources said.
Terrorist Umar Mushtaq Khandey, the sources added, had on 19 February fired upon J&K Police personnel at Bhagat Chowk, Barzulla, Srinagar, killing two. Khandey was killed by security forces on 16 October in Julbagh, Rampore, the sources added.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)