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Rahul Bhat’s killer among 3 LeT terrorists neutralised in Budgam

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Srinagar: Three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including Lateef Rather who was involved in the killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat in May, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Budgam district on Wednesday, police said.
“All the three hiding LeT #terrorists #neutralised. Bodies being retrieved from the site, identication yet to be ascertained. #Incriminating materials, arms & ammunition recovered. A big success for us,” Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar tweeted.
A police spokesperson identified the slain terrorists as Lateef Rather alias Abdullah ( Top Commander) resident of Badipora Chadoora area of Budgam, Saqib Mushtaq Khan and Muzaffar Ahmad Chopan both residents of Khonmoh area of Srinagar.
Kumar later said the slain terrorists included Lateef Rather, who was involved in killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat and TV actor Amreen Bhat in May this year.
Rahul Bhat was shot dead by terrorists inside his office at Chadoora while Amreen Bhat was killed by the ultras outside her house in Hushru area of Budgam district.
Earlier, police had said three LeT terrorists were trapped at the encounter site.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation at Waterhail in Khansahib area of the district following information about presence of terrorists there, a police spokesman said, adding the search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired at the security forces, who retaliated.
As per police records, all the killed terrorists were part of a group involved in several terror crime cases including civilian atrocities. The killed terrorist 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 LeT outfit and started operating as a close associate of Top LeT Commander Abu Qasim( Pakistani) .As per police records, he was responsible for a Fidayeen attack on June 24,2013 in Hyderpora area on an Army Convoy in which eight Army Jawans got martyred. Besides, he was also responsible for plotting, planning and martyring of SHO PS Chadoora Martyr SI Shabir Ahmed in year 2013.
Subsequently, he was again arrested by Police in 2013 and prosecuted for his involvement in several terror crime case; however in November-2021 he got released from Jail . Post 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, killed terrorist Lateef Rather carried out several terror crimes and civilian atrocities.
Moreover, 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. ADGP Kashmir appreciated the joint teams of Police and the security forces for carrying out the operation in professional manner without any collateral damage and eliminating the group of terrorists including wanted terrorist Lateef Rather. He also termed the elimination of the terrorist Commander as a big success as he was wanted by law for his involvement in several civilian killings.
Incriminating materials including huge cache of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the site of encounter. In this regard, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and further investigation is into progress, the spokesperson added.

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