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 Terrorist involved in Rahul Bhat’s killing among three killed: Police

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Srinagar: Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday, police said.

Sharing details of the encounter, police spokesman in a statement here said that acting on a technical input generated by SOG Srinagar about presence of a group of terrorists in Waterhail area of Budgam, police along with troops of 62RR and 79Bn CRPF launched a joint cordon and search operation in the said area.

During the search operation, as the joint party preceded towards the suspected spot the “hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately upon the search party which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter.”

In the ensuing encounter, police said “three terrorists of proscribed terror outfit LeT (TRF) were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter.”

The killed terrorists were identified as Lateef Rather alias Abdullah, resident of Badipora Chadoora area of Budgam; Saqib Mushtaq Khan and Muzaffar Ahmad Chopan, both residents of Khonmoh area of Srinagar.

As per police records, “all the killed terrorists were part of a group involved in several terror crime cases including civilian atrocities.

“Lateef Rather alias Abdullah Bhai was a second time recycled terrorist of LeT/TRF outfit as he was apprehended by police in a terror crime case in 2001. Post his release from jail in 2013, he again joined the LeT outfit and started operating as a close associate of top LeT commander Abu Qasim( Pakistani),” police said.

He said as per police records, he was responsible for a Fidayeen attack on 24 June, 2013 in Hyderpora area on an Army convoy in which eight Army soldiers were killed.

“He was also responsible for plotting, planning and killing of SHO Police Station Chadoora,  SI Shabir Ahmed in 2013,” police said.

Subsequently, he was again arrested by police in 2013 and prosecuted for his involvement in several cases; however in November-2021 he was released from jail.

“After his release, he again started working for LeT/TRF outfit in Srinagar city and joined the terror folds in February-2022 and assumed the role as commander TRF. During the year 2022, on the directions of his across border handler Sajjad Gul, Lateef Rather carried out several terror crimes and civilian atrocities including killing of a Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat and an artiste Amreen Bhat in Chadoora area,” police spokesman said.

Spokesman said he was also involved in “recruiting the gullible youth of Budgam/Pulwama/Srinagar areas to strengthen the terror folds of proscribed terror outfit TRF in these areas.”

“The other killed terrorist, Saqib Mushtaq was also involved in several terror crimes including killing of DDC member Sameer Ahmed Dar and firing on non-local labourers in Nowgam area. Besides, terrorist Muzaffar Chopan was recently recruited by terrorist Lateef Rather and was involved in a grenade attack in Khanmoh area,” police spokesman said.

“#Terrorist Lateef Rather @ Abdullah, killer of Rahul Bhat & Amreen Bhat among the three killed #terrorists. He was involved in several #terror crime cases, including several civilian #killings & #atrocities,” Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar tweeted.

Police spokesman said that Kumar “appreciated the joint teams of police/SF for carrying out the operation in professional manner without any collateral damage and eliminating the group of terrorists including wanted terrorist Lateef Rather.”

Incriminating materials including a huge cache of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further course of investigation.

In this regard, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and further investigation is into progress.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of the explosives, if any,” the police spokesman said.

IED recovered in Pulwama: Police

Security forces on Wednesday recovered an about 30-kg improvised explosive device (IED) in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.

The IED was recovered after a specific input generated by police, Additional Director General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said.

“An IED weighing approx. 25 to 30 Kgs recovered near Tahab Crossing on Circular road in #Pulwama by Police and Security Forces. A major #tragedy has been #averted by specific input generated by Pulwama Police,” the ADGP Kashmir wrote on Twitter.

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