December 2016 News

Suspected Militants Loot Over Rs 13L From Bank, Second Time Since Demonetisation

8 December 2016
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: In the second bank robbery in a month, suspected militants looted Rs 13.38 lakhs from a bank in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. A police officer said a group of four or five militants armed with AK-47 rifles barged into the J&K Bank branch at Arihal in the south Kashmir district in the afternoon.'The militants, who had come in two vehicles, decamped with Rs 13.38 lakh from the bank. Before fleeing from the spot, they fired some rounds in the air,' he said. The police official said the militants also thrashed some bank employees and broke a few computers during the robbery. Asked whether only new or old currency notes were looted, he said, 'Of the Rs 13.38 lakh looted by militants, Rs 2.23 lakh were in scrapped currency notes while Rs 11.15 lakh were in new notes.' After the bank robbery, police, paramilitary and Armymen rushed to the area and launched a combing operation to track down the robbers. However, no arrests were reported. Police said an attempt was made to loot another branch of the same bank on Wednesday evening. 'Unidentified persons had broken the window of the J&K Bank branch in Poshkar village in Budgam district. However, they were unable to barge in because of the iron grills,' a police official said. He said it looked like a case of robbery attempt. 'We have launched investigations'. Earlier, on November 21, suspected militants looted Rs 13 lakh from a bank in the Chrar-e-Sharief area of the central Kashmir district. Four days later, police had blamed the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba for the robbery. Also, they claimed to have cracked the case by arresting five overground workers of the LeT. A Pakistani commander was mastermind of the bank robbery, they added. A police official said militants are resorting to bank robberies because they are facing a shortage of money after the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. In a separate development in the unrest-hit state, BJP leader Ram Madhav and former chief minister Omar Abdullah sparred on social media over the presence of UN Military Observers Group office in Srinagar, with Madhav calling it an 'unnecessary provocation' for the separatists and the latter daring him to have it shut down since his party was in power both in the state and at the Centre. 'Pak has it in Rawalpindi. Why do we have it in Srinagar,' Madhav, who is BJP's pointsman for the state, tweeted, apparently referring to the separatists call asking people to march to the UN office on Dec 10. . To this, the National Conference leader replied, 'Jenab, not to put too fine a point on it but please correct what we failed to do in that case as you are in power in Centre and in the state.'