LeT’s Amarnath Yatra attack group wiped out
LeT ‘Div Commdr’ Furqan among three terrorists killed; one soldier martyred in Qazigund encounter
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: With the death of three top wanted terrorists in an encounter on Srinagar-Jammu highway, Police and security forces on Monday claimed to have wiped out entire group of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba that allegedly carried out an attack on Amarnath Yatra bus, killing 7 pilgrims and leaving 19 more wounded near Botengo (Khannabal, Anantnag) on July 10.
Highly placed authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that two Pakistani terrorists of LeT, namely Furqan and Muaviya, got killed and their local associate, Yawar of Hablish Qazigund, was believed to be dead in the encounter that took place on the highway between Bonigam and Nusu-Bardragund, near Qazigund. One soldier of 10-Sikh Li also lost his life due to a stray bullet at some distance from the site of encounter.
According to these sources, entire Ismail group, that had allegedly attacked the pilgrims from Gujarat on July 10 had been wiped out with today’s encounter. Leader of the group and then LeT’s “Divisional Commander” Ismail, who according to officials was mastermind of the attack on pilgrims, had got killed in an encounter with Police and security forces near Nowgam, on Srinagar outskirts, on September 14, along with his associate Qasim. Remaining three members of the group – Furqan, Muaviya and Yawar-are believed dead in today’s gunfight.
On August 7, senior J&K Police officers had claimed at a press conference that Ismail, Furqan, Muaviya and Yawar had planned and carried out the attack on pilgrims.
IGP Kashmir Munir Khan confirmed death of two terrorists, namely Furqan and Muaviya, as also one soldier. “I am hundred per cent sure that Yawar is also dead in the same encounter but until now we have found bodies of only Furqana and Muaviya”, IGP told STATE TIMES. He said that the encounter took place at an open spot and there was no chance of escaping for Yawar. Civilian sources from the spot said that Furqan and Muaviya were identified by a detained militant Shamsul Veqar. Two AK-47 rifles were recovered from debris of the house destroyed in the gunfight. DIG South Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani said that the terrorists in ambush fired upon ROP of Army at 1.00 PM. Rather than withdrawing from the spot, troops joined by the Police chased away the militants who took shelter in an under-construction house close to the highway. BP vest of one constable of SOG Kulgam was completely ripped from the back and he had a providential escape. However one CRPF constable sustained gunshot injuries. He was reportedly stable at hospital.
One local civilian, driving a motorcycle, was also hit during cross-firing. He was rushed to Qazigund Trauma Hospital and there from referred to District Hospital Anantnag where he too was reportedly out of danger. DIG said that one protester of Bonigam, who was in a motley group that tried to disrupt the operation, sustained pellet injuries.
DIG said that Yawar of Hablish, who was a student of Darul Uloom Bilalia at Anantnag and Srinagar and had become a terrorist, was wanted in a number of terrorist attacks mostly carried out by Furqan group on the highway from Lower Munda to Khannabal, Anantnag. He had also snatched away rifle from a constable and had mobilised LeT’s cadres in entire South Kashmir with Furqan, Ismail and Muaviya and previously with Abu Dujana.
“We had meticulously accurate information about this group’s movement in that area since last 10 or 15 days and we were already expecting some attack from them. It finally happened today. We can confirm death of Furqan and Muaviya though we are certain about Yawar’s death in the same area”, DIG South Kashmir said. He too asserted that only two dead bodies of terrorists had been recovered from the destroyed house.
According to DIG Pani, Furqan had been appointed as Ismail’s successor and LeT’s “Divisional Commander” in South Kashmir in September. However, his movement was mostly tracked in Budgam-Srinagar-Pulwama triangle. He claimed that most of the attacks on the highway from Lower Munda to Khannabal had been carried out by the same group of the militants and claimed today’s encounter as a major achievement for Police and security forces and a setback for LeT in Kashmir. “With today’s operation, LeT is almost completely finished in Kulgam-Anantnag belt of South Kashmir. They are left with no commander now”, DIG asserted.