Srinagar: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant, Abu Ismail, who the police believes carried out the attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims earlier this week that left seven people dead, has been found to be involved in a number of militant attacks including a recent one close to the Indian Army headquarter in Srinagar that left an assistant sub inspector of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a constable dead and three soldiers injured.
The attack near the army headquarter was carried out by Ismail on a patrol party of CRPF personnel near the Delhi Public School (DPS), which culminated with the killing of two militants as they remained holed up inside school complex for hours on the eve of Eid.
According to police officials three others including a Pakistani LeT militant had accompanied Ismail during the attack on Amarnath pilgrims. The Police has, however, in a press statement, said that the attack was actually carried out on a patrol party and that the "militants may not have had the Amarnath yatris as a target in their mind".
LeT has also denied involvement in the Amarnath Yatra attack. Condemning the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, LeT had termed it “reprehensible” and “un-Islamic".
Abdullah Ghaznavi, spokesman of LeT has said, “Islam does not allow violence against any faith. We strongly condemn such acts."
Ghaznavi also accused the Government of India (GoI) of "orchestrating the attack," saying, "India wants to sabotage the freedom struggle of Kashmiris, therefore, it uses such attacks to fulfill its nefarious agenda."
The police statement added that militants had initially attacked a police party at Batengo in Anantnag and as the firing was retaliated the tourist bus was hit by bullets that lead to the death of seven people.
Director General of Police, SP Vaid, said that the investigation in the Amarnath Yatra attack has revealed that it was carried out by the LeT militants. He said that the police has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to carry out the investigation in the case.
Top police officials said that Ismail, is active in South Kashmir for nearly a year and was involved in the militant attack at a DPS building as well as the attacks on forces on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
“Ismail and three other (LeT) militants carried out the Amarnath attack. They came out from an alley and attacked the police personnel, before the Amarnath pilgrims were caught in the attack," said a senior police official.
Police officials added that the LeT has different operational commanders in the areas of south, central and north Kashmir. The militant activity has picked up in the south Kashmir as a number of youth have joined militancy after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani in 2016.
A top police official also said that Abu Ismail has replaced Abu Dujana as LeT’s south Kashmir chief. Dujana has joined the militant group lead by former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa. The former commander of Hizbul Mujahideen recently broke away from the militant outfit after Syed Salahuddin, chief of United Jihad Council (UJC) and supreme commander, dissociated from Musa's statement threatening to behead the Hurriyat leaders for seeking to establish a secular independent state. Musa has vowed to fight for the creation of an Islamic state in Kashmir. Police officials said that Dujana may have joined Musa's group after the call by latter to fight for establishing Islamic rule in the state.
Earlier, police had also detained six people of Batengoo and had questioned them questioned about their involvement in the attack. However, a police official said, the members of the family were let off as "their involvement in the attack couldn't be ascertained".
Ismail is also believed to be involved in the attack on army convoy near Qazigund on Jammu-Srinagar national highway last month, in which two army men were killed and four others injured. Police officials have also informed that Ismail was involved in bank robberies in south Kashmir. However, local people blamed the government forces for the bank robberies and militants have also denied hand saying that they were "not short of money".
Updated Date: Jul 14, 2017 19:15 PM