May 2000 News

Militants behind Bhat''s killing held

24 May 2000
Indian Express
Tariq Bhat & Mufti Islah

Anant Nag: The Anantnag police have arrested 2 Hizbul Mujahideen militants wanted in connectionwith the killings of J&K minster for power Ghulam Hasan Bhat and 4 others on may 15. THe 2 accused 24 year old power development department employee Nissar Ahmed Khan and Abdul Salam bhat 40, who works with the forest department were picked up during an operation at Mandipora 2 days ago. Khan has reportedlly been involved in militancy for the past 8 years. A search is on for 3 other accused who are absconding. The police have also detained for questioning 8 villagers in whose houses the militants had taken shelter. The arrests have come as a shot in the arm of Anantnag police which drew widespread flak, after the minister, his personal security officers Farooq Ahmad and Ghulam Qadir driver Raj Kumar and national conference leader Ghulam Mohammad wani were killed in a landmine blast at Mndipora village in Dooru, 70 km south of Srinagar. Giving details a senior police officer said they had been toiling hard to score a success in this case. ''After the arrest of these 2 we hope to track down the other militants'' he said. Another officer revealed ''During questioning the militants said they had been under immense pressure to do something big. They did thorough planning before killing the minister''. According to the officer, Abdul Salm Bhat said that they studied the area and monitored the minister''s movements for a month. The militant reportedly pointed out that the road on which 25 Kg of RDX was concealed in a telephone pole was chosen since the minister had taken the route 8 times out of 10 while travelling during recent days. The officer said:''The militants had planted the mine on the night of May 14.Three of them then left for a nearby village''. He said that Nissar was tipping them off on wireless about the minister''s movements from a house opposite to his. As soon as Ghulam hassan Bhat left his home for Srinagar, Nissar reportedly flashed the message -Jabar2. According to the official ''Jabar'' was the code for the minister while ''2'' stood for the second vehicle of the cavalcade of 5. ''Jabar2 was again aired when the minister was 1 km from the site. When the militants spotted the calvacade they triggered the device as soon as the second car passed over the mine. The planning shows that the militans did their homework well, from the number of vehicles the minister uses to the persons attachedwith his security. Interrogation of the 2 accused also revealed that the conspiracy was hatched at Haji Dedi Mount at Kreri about 8 km from Dooru.


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