Majid Kapra

3 youths killed in Lawaypora encounter were involved in militancy: IGP

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‘Will soon present concrete evidence to their parents’

Srinagar: The three youths killed in a gunfight with security forces in Lawaypora last month were involved in militancy, Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said on Monday and added that police will soon convince their parents of it with “concrete evidence”.

“Their involvement has been — almost 60 percent — proved. We are getting the data and we will convince their parents,” he said.

He said the police were not sharing the information as yet deliberately as the issue was very sensitive.

“According to the meta data we have collected so far, all the three associates who were killed in the encounter were involved in militancy. They were providing logistic support (to militants). We want to take a few more days so that we collect all the evidence which we will show to their parents first to convince them of their children’s involvement,” Kumar told reporters here.

Security forces had said the three local militants were killed in the encounter in Lawaypora on the outskirts of Srinagar in the last week of December, but their families claimed that the youths were “innocent and not involved in militancy”.

Asked about the demand for handing over the bodies of the trio to their families, Kumar said there was no question of it “because their involvement in militancy has been proved”.

The IGP said the bodies of slain militants or militant associates are not being handed over to their families in view of the COVID-19 pandemic as people might assemble in funerals and violate protocols.

“The protocol is followed in case of death of a civilian, but, if we hand over the bodies of militants or associates, people get emotional and attend the funerals in thousands,” he said.

Kumar said the pandemic has not ended yet and if the bodies of militants or militant associates are handed over to their families, then it will be difficult to stop people from gathering.

“Then we will have to fight the people, use tear gas or maybe even pellets. Then also, you will criticise us. The bodies of slain militants have been buried in the presence of their family members. So, there is no logic in another burial,” the Inspector General of Police (IGP) told reporters.

He said it is in the larger interests of the people that the police do not hand over the bodies.

“Till COVID does not end, we will not hand over the bodies of militants or militant associates,” he said.

On the arrangements for Republic Day functions, the IGP said militants would try to disrupt the functions, but the police will ensure all such attempts were foiled.

“We have done all the preparations. Checking and cordon-and-search (operations) have started, nakas have been established. Our personnel are ready, technical support and human resources are also there and we are keeping surveillance. Terrorists will make attempts, but we are alert and the focus is on preventive intelligence…. There will be some preventive arrests also,” he said.

Kumar said it has been seen in recent times that over ground workers (OGWs) of militant outfits or militant associates are involved in cases of opening fire from pistols, throwing grenade or IEDs, and it was a top priority for the police to deal with the issue.

“Yesterday, we arrested a youth from Anantnag along with a pistol and he accepted that he was tasked to kill someone. The youth are being lured as OGWs, but the police are alert and we are tracking them through technical surveillance and human resources and this is a top priority for us,” he said. (With PTI inputs)

Amshipora ‘fake encounter’

Bounty money goes to sources not officers: IGP

Srinagar: Clarifying on the allegation that allurement of reward money led to the Amshipora ‘fake encounter’ killing of three persons from Rajouri, the IGP Kashmir said the issue has been misrepresented in the media.

“The reward money is given to the source and not to any officer. In this case also, their company commander had promised and has also given the money to the source. The source has also accepted before a magistrate that he received the money. He has not said the Major or the Commanding Officer got the money,” IGP Vijay Kumar said on the sidelines of a road safety week function here.

Pertinently, some media reports had said that the police in its charge-sheet has claimed that the Amshipora encounter in which three laborers from Rajouri district were killed on July 08 last year, was staged by an Army captain for monetary rewards.

The informers Tabish Nazir, a resident of Shopian, and Bilal Ahmad from Pulwama, were paid a “few thousand” rupees, states the 300 page charge-sheet filed by the police’s special investigation team (SIT), as per media reports.

2 JeM operatives arrested with arms: IGP Jammu

Jammu:  Two Kashmir-based operatives of the militant outfit JeM were arrested on Monday along with a huge cache of arms and ammunition that were dropped by militant “handlers from across the border using drones”, a senior police officer said on Monday.

They had travelled from Kashmir to the International Border at Vijaypur in Samba and collected the arms and ammunition dropped with the help of drones, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu Mukesh Singh said.

The duo was arrested along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in a joint operation by the Ramban district police and the Special Operations Group (SOG) Jammu when they were heading towards Kashmir along with the weapons.

The operatives were identified as Umar Ahmad Malik and Suhail Ahmad Maik — both residents of Semthan village of Bijbehara in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

The recovered weapons include two AK assault rifles with nine magazines and 269 bullets, a pistol with two magazines, and 16 hand-grenades, he said.

“Initial investigation reveals that the two terror operatives, working under a terror plot hatched by Kashmir-based terrorists and their Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) handler Aqib alias Alfa from Budgam, clandestinely travelled from Kashmir to the International Border at Vijaypur (Samba) and received arms and ammunition dropped with the help of drones,” Singh said.

Further investigations into the case are going on, he said.

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