Srinagar, Feb 8: Two days after militants managed to free a Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) commander after killing two policemen from a hospital in Srinagar, a top police official said the militant outfit was desperate to get Naveed Jatta out so that he could lead them in the valley, where the top leadership was wiped out by security forces.
However, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Muneer Khan said that police was able to crack the case within 48 hours of the incident and nab four people, including two militants and two Over Ground Workers (OGWs), involved in the crime.
“The leadership of LeT was wiped out completely after killing of their top commanders in security force action. There was no commander designated by LeT for the valley. May be they wanted to him to lead since he has the potential of being a commander. So that’s why they were desperate to get him out,” Khan said while addressing a press conference here on Thursday evening.
The motorcycle and a car used in the crime were seized, Khan said.
Khan said that police could have retaliated and neutralized the militants in the hospital, but, restrained their actions to avoid killings of the civilians. “The hospital is a crowded place and if the policemen there would have fired at the militants that could have resulted in the loss of lives of innocent civilians. So in order to avoid civilian causalities, they didn’t fire at the militants,” he said.
He further said that the conspiracy was hatched from last four months and Jatta and other people involved in the crime were in contact with each other using mobile phones.
Khan said to expedite the investigations, an SIT was constituted which immediately launched an investigation and used technology to crack the case.
“During the course of the investigation identity of militants and OGWs involved in the commission of the act surfaced. The conspirators were identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather, Shakeel Ahmad Bhat, Tika Khan and Syed Tajamul and Mohammad Shafi Wani,” he said.
He four of the five people identified have been arrested. “Only Hilal Ahmad Rather and Jatta are at large while the rest of the conspirators have been arrested,” he said.
Khan said two pistols were recovered from two arrested militants — Shakeel and Tika — while another weapon is with Hilal, who is still at large.
“During the course of investigation it was established that Hilal, Shakeel and Tika were masterminds in the whole conspiracy. Tika had also visited Central Jail Srinagar on different pretexts at least three to four times and was in constant contact with Jatta. All the conspirators, including Jatt, were in constant contact with each other through mobile phones,” he added.
The ADGP said the militants had earlier planned to free Jatta from Pulwama court complex, but they later aborted the plan due to high security there. “Jatt was earlier lodged in Kathua jail and later shifted to central Jail, Srinagar on court orders.
Khan said police has already transferred eight Pakistan militants to jails outside the valley. “We had already transferred these militants to jails outside the valley before the incident… we had also plans to transfer Jatt outside the valley, but because of a court order that didn’t happen,” he said.
When asked the reason for the transfer of the Pakistani militants to outside the valley, he said, “Normally we don’t keep too many Pakistani militants in one place and we had 16 foreign militants, who were lodged in the jails in the valley. So in order to segregate them we were sending them to other jails.”
Giving details of incident, the ADGP said that the militants reached SHMS hospital on a motorcycle and a car, which have been recovered and seized. “The militants then waited for Jatt to enter the heavily crowded casualty ward when one of the militants slipped a pistol into the possession of Jatta. The Pakistan militant then fired at the policemen and escaped,” he said. Two policemen, including a Head Constable and a Constable, were killed in the firing.
“After that Jatt and Hilal ran towards the parking lot… but they preferred to ride the motorcycle. They were taken to a place in the Srinagar city and later Tika Khan took them to his residence in south Kashmir,” he said.
Khan also lauded the SIT for their speedy investigation in the matter. “More breakthroughs in the case are expected as the investigation is still on,” he added.