Civilian killings: Militants behind the act identified: Security Officials
Srinagar: Security agencies Tuesday identified the militants they believed were behind the civilian killings in the city last week, and the attackers included their 25-year-old kingpin Basit Ahmed Dar, a resident of Kulgam in South Kashmir, officials said here.
They said that Dar, who disappeared from his home in Redwani in Kulgam district in April, had been under the scanner earlier also as he worked with Abbas Sheikh, the self-styled chief of The Resistance Front (TRF), an organisation believed to be a shadow outfit of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba.
According to officials, Dar and three others — including Mehran Shalla, a youth in his early 20s and a resident of Nawa Kadal in downtown city, and another young man Adil — were part of a four-member terror squad that carried out the attacks on civilians in the city.
The officials said the group was involved in the killing of Kashmiri Pandit businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo, who owned a chain of medical shops known for genuine medicines, school principal Supinder Kaur and teacher Deepak Chand, both of whom taught in the same school located at Eidgah.
The officials said security agencies gathered CCTV footage from all the locations and joined the dots to zero in on the squad that was responsible for the killing of civilians, especially the minorities.
The officials said Basit has been moving around in the city and is accompanied by Mehran and others.
It is stated that Dar took over the TRF operations after the death of Abbas Sheikh, among the oldest face of militancy in the valley.
A resident of Kulgam’s Rampur village, Sheikh had joined the banned Hizbul Mujahideen group in mid-90s and kept returning to the terror fold after being arrested and released twice.
He was arrested for the first time in 2004 and released after a year. In 2007, he was arrested again and spent four years in jail. After his release, he was at home for three years, before going missing again in the spring of 2014.
He was gunned down in a swift operation by the army early this year.
Sheikh was behind the killing of jeweller Satpal Nischal, a non-Kashmiri, earlier this year leading the security forces to conclude that the same group could have been behind the killing of Virender Paswan, who earned her bread by selling ‘golgappa’ and ‘chat papdi’ in the valley.