Two militants killed; explosive laboratory busted
9 May 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: In a major breakthrough, troopers of 7 RR and SOG killed a militant, suspected to be involved in Varanasi twin blasts, while as two LeT militants were killed in an overnight encounter at Kulgam. Huge cache of explosives were recovered by busting explosive laboratory, where bombs were being prepared to intensify violence ahead of Prime Minister's roundtable confab in Srinagar. Troopers of 7 RR in a joint operation with SOG in Handwara during a gunfight today killed a dreaded militant, accused to have masterminded series of Varanasi blast on March 7, which claimed at least 20 lives Claiming to have accomplished a major breakthrough, the sources said that Mohammed Zubair of Uttar Pradesh, owing allegiance to Kaleemullah group of Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) was killed in an encounter, which followed an ambush. Sources said that the security forces had specific information about the movement of militants in Haran Handwara and subsequently an ambush was laid in the wee hours of Tuesday. Sources said that a group of three militants was trapped and asked to surrender. The militants opened fire at the troopers which was returned ensuing into a fierce gunfight. While as two militants managed to escape, one of them was gunned down in the exchange of fire, the sources said. SS Jadhav Commander 7 sector RR while confirming the killing and identifying him as Zubair of HUJI, said that the slain militant was in the most wanted militant by UP police. Sources said that the local police had received inputs from UP Police about his presence in Handwara. Sources said that Zubair was planning to cross over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Zubair, a resident of Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh was accused of being involved in a series of twin blasts in the Sankatmochan temple and the Cantonment Railway station of the temple city of Varanasi, which killed at least 20 and injured 100 others. A Pakistani made pistol was recovered from the slain militant, while as his body was later handed over to police. An overnight encounter in Gadipora Shopian ended this morning after two holed up militants were killed. Earlier, as reported, on specific information, SOG and 9 RR in a joint operation had launched an operation on Monday to flush out the hiding militants. An encounter broke out between the hiding militants and troopers after militants took a refuge in a residential house of one Mohammed Sidiq Dar. Both the holed up militants were killed in the encounter identified as Ayaz Ahmed Chowpan of Padarpora and Bilal Ahmed Bhat alias Iliyas of Choolan Shopian. Both the militants were believed to be affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit. Two troopers and a civilian were also injured in the exchange of fire. Two AK assault rifles, a grenade, nine magazines and cell phone were recovered from the encounter site. Police today recovered the bodies of two cops of 13 Battalion of Armed Police, who had gone missing since January 20. Sources said that Head Constable Mushtaq Ahmed belt number 8 of Batamaloo Srinagar and Selection Grade Constable Habeebullah Bhat belt number 57 of Bandipore were returning on their duty post at Larnaw Kokernag after Eid holidays on January 20 during which they were caught in a snow avalanche and were untraced since. Their bodies were sighted by locals today and police subsequently informed that two police uniform clad bodies are lying at in forest area of Larnaw. Police recovered a skeleton, believed to be of a woman, from Dooru Anantnag. The identification of the recovered skeleton was being ascertained, the sources said. Meanwhile, security forces recovered huge cache of arms and ammunitions from Bijbehara, south Kashmir, believed to be used for orchestrating blasts at various places in Srinagar and south Kashmir ahead of Srinagar roundtable conference on May 25. Sources said that troopers carried out various raids in Bijbehara after getting inputs from a diary of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mushtaq Ahmed Bhat alias Gowhar alias Aijaz, who was killed during an encounter at Nooripur, Tral on May 7. The raids lead to busting of large number of hideouts and recovery of a large quantity of explosives and IED circuits used for preparing of remote IEDs including car bombs, sources said. Sources said that the recovered documents and intercepts revealed that the explosives recovered were in all likelihood planned to be used for coordinating blasts at various places in Srinagar and south Kashmir prior to May 25, when Prime Minister's roundtable conference would be held in Srinagar. Sources said that troopers recovered 24 remote controls of IEDs, 28 kgs of assorted explosives, two electric detonators, ten pencil cells, two dry batteries, three ball bearing packets (large), 40 plastic boxes to house IEDs, one wire cutter, one soldering iron, soldering wire bundles, six radio sets and one rifle silencer. The recoveries were claimed to have been seized from a hideout in the house of one Abdul Rashid Dar, son of Mohammed Rashid Dar, R-o Bijbehara. Sources said that Rashid Dar was presently absconding. Sources said that the recoveries indicate that an elaborate laboratory was being run to fabricate various IED circuits for car bombs.