May 2016 News

2 Jaish Militants Were Up To Something Big: Police

24 May 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: A day after two suspected Pakistani militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad, including its chief commander Saifullah, were killed in city centre, the police are analysing the possible targets of the militant group in Srinagar. On the other hand, protests and clashes were witnessed today in the locality and its adjoining areas in Srinagar where the duo were killed, with people contesting the police version of the encounter. The police late yesterday claimed to have killed two Jaish militants in a brief encounter in the Saribal which is barely half-a-kilometre away from the civil secretariat and state Assembly. The upcoming Budget session of the J&K legislature is scheduled to commence from May 25. 'The two Jaish militants were up to something big in the city,' said a police officer. 'But it will be premature to say conclusively what their target was?' The two militants, the officer said, had been frequenting Srinagar from north Kashmir's Handwara and Sopore and were putting up as tenants at Saraibala locality for the last few days. 'Since they had a place to stay, it means they have been here for long. It has surely ringed alarm bells among security establishment as they must have formed modules here,' he said. Though police investigators said that they were yet to conclude as exactly what was the target of the group, the Jaish in past has carried out many deadly attacks. The group founded in January, 2000, by Masood Azhar has been involved in several deadly attacks, including the one on Parliament and J&K Assembly. The assault on Parliament on December 13, 2001, had virtually pushed India and Pakistan to the brink of war. The group also carried out a car bomb attack in Kashmir in 2000 outside the Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarter. The Jaish, which was almost wiped out last year in Kashmir, is trying hard to set its base in Kashmir. Two of its Pakistani fidayeens have been arrested from north Kashmir's Baramulla district in the last three month. In Srinagar after the killing of Gazi Baba, the mastermind behind the attack on Parliament, in August 2003 the group has not been able to get a foot hold in Srinagar. 'However, the presence of chief commander of Jaish in Srinagar hints that he might have been consolidating, planning recruitment and attacks in Srinagar too,' another police officer said. Meanwhile, clashes and shutdown broke out in the Saraibala area over the killings. The police had to fire tear smoke shells to disperse youth protesting killings. According to an eyewitness, the policemen barged into the house and inquired about the boys. 'One youth, who was working on a laptop was shot dead inside the room, while another was killed outside near a shop, just yards away from the house,' a local resident said. 'We don't know if they were militants or not,' he added. The police investigation also hints that the two Jaish militants had apparently no links with the two attacks carried by gunmen in Srinagar yesterday in which three policemen were killed.