The Navhind Times Archive

Pulwama attack mastermind killed in J&K encounter




The mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, has been killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Tral area, officials said on Monday.

Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Mudasir Ahmed Khan was one of the two militants killed in the encounter in Tral’s Pinglish area that started on Sunday evening and went on till the early hours of Monday, they said.

The body of the second militant has not be identified yet, said the officials, who had earlier claimed he was Sajjad Bhat, a JeM operative whose car was used in the Pulwama attack.

Bhat’s brother refused to take the body, saying it was charred beyond recognition. Khan’s body has been taken by his family members, the officials said.

Khan was the “main conspirator” of the attack on the Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Pulwama, Lt General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, XV Corps, said at a hurriedly called joint press conference by the Army, state police and the paramilitary force.

CRPF inspector general (operations) in Jammu and Kashmir, Zulfiqar Hasan, said, “Mudasir Ahmed Khan alias ‘Mohd Bhai’ was among the two militants killed in the encounter in Tral’s Pinglish area in Pulwama district.”

He, however, refused to term this as avenging the deaths in the February 14 terror strike.

“We are peacekeepers and we ensure that no one raises a gun against the country,” Hasan said.

Inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Swayam Prakash Pani said the identity of the second militant has not been ascertained yet.

“We know that his code was ‘Khalid’. We are trying to find his actual identity,” he said, adding that he is believed to be a Pakistani.

The killing of Khan is a significant dent to the JeM, he said.

Pani said some material was found from their hideout and it will be shared with the National Investigation Agency  probing the Pulwama attack.

The family members of Khan have taken his body, Hasan said, adding that he has been buried as well.

Security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglish after receiving specific intelligence about the presence of militants in the area.

The operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire at the search party who retaliated, the officials said.

Lt General Dhillon said ever since the February attack, 18 militants have been killed in various actions by security forces.

Bhat, who officials had earlier said was the second person killed in the encounter, had bought the vehicle used in the Pulwama attack 10 days before the incident.

Meanwhile, a 33-year-old man was arrested on Monday with two grenades and a detonator outside an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, a senior police official said.

Rajinder Singh, a resident of Kalakote area, had come for a recruitment rally which is underway and was arrested during frisking outside the Army town gate in Surankote, senior superintendent of police, Poonch, Ramesh Kumar Angral told reporters in the border district.

A C-90 grenade, a UBGL (under barrel grenade launcher) grenade and a detonator were recovered from his possession, he said.

The SSP said a lot of youths have turned up to join the Territorial Army at the recruitment rally.

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