LeT ‘OGWs’ who aided Amarnath attack identified: IGP

Srinagar, Jul 24: The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s “over ground workers” who provided logistical help to militants before the attack on Amarnath pilgrims have been identified, police said today.
Considerable progress has been made in the probe into the July 10 terror attack that left eight pilgrims dead in Anantnag of south Kashmir, a senior police official said.
Giving additional details of the investigation, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Khan said, “Two LeT Pakistani militants, including Abu Ismail, supported by two local LeT militants, were involved in the case.”
The over ground workers (OGWs) of the LeT who provided logistical support before the attack have been identified by the police, he told reporters.
Khan said the police were also “investigating thoroughly whether the two local LeT militants, by the name of Jibran and Saad, who were killed at Bragpora (on 17 July), were in any way involved in the attack or not”.
Police have busted a Lashkar-e- Toiba (LeT) module by arresting four over ground workers of the outfit who used to transport arms and ammunition from north Kashmir to south.
Munir Khan said that the police had information that LeT was transporting arms and ammunition from north Kashmir to south through OGWs.
“We developed this input and identified a vehicle which they were using. Four days back, in the evening that vehicle was intercepted but people inside that fled. The vehicle has been seized and we have recovered a magazine from it,” he told reporters.
“Next day, we searched the area and arrested some persons. We also recovered an assault rifle. Four people have been arrested so far,” the IGP said.
He said that Jammu and Kashmir Police have also arrested 20 persons in connection with the mob lynching of DSP Mohd Ayub Pandith here last month.
A militant involved in the killing of the police officer was shot dead in an encounter with security forces on July 12, the IGP said.
Pandith was lynched outside Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of the city on June 22.
The IGP said the investigation in the case is still on and more arrests are likely to take place.
“So far 20 accused have been arrested and one more, a militant identified as Sajad Ahmad Gilkar, was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Redbugh area of Budgam on July 12,” Khan said.
“The investigation of the case is going on at a fast pace and some more arrests are expected which will lead to the completion of the investigation and the case will be submitted for judicial determination,” he said.
Khan said the police is making vigorous efforts to identify the remaining assailants involved in the crime, while recovery of other evidences related to the commission of the crime is underway.
“The important pieces of evidence including an iron rod, by which the officer was hit, his identity card, service pistol (in a damaged condition) and his cell phone have been recovered,” he said.
The IGP said it was encouraging to note that people came forward to provide valuable information which led to a substantial headway in the investigations.
“Unlike other cases, there was widespread condemnation by cross-section of the society. General public and eyewitnesses voluntarily came forward to render assistance in the investigation and provide valuable information. This led us to the right conclusion and the right line of investigation,” he said.
Khan said in the initial phase, three persons were arrested and questioned which led to subsequent arrests and recovery of the evidence.
Stitching together the sequence of events which led to the lynching of the officer, the IGP said during investigations it surfaced that a group of hooligans came out of the mosque raising slogans in favour of militant commander Zakir Musa and “supposedly to welcome” chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“Four miscreants saw the DySP, who was coming out of the mosque after checking the deployment for access control duties, called him and questioned him. They asked for his identity card which he refused to give.
“The hooligans started heckling the officer and the number of miscreants swelled. The officer fired some shots from his service rifle below the waistline causing injury to three assailants who were in the immediate proximity and were heckling him. However, the mob continued to beat him which ended in his death,” Khan said.
He said it took time to identify the slain officer as “he was defaced and disfigured”.
Rejecting the charge that there was any kind of dereliction of duty on the part of police officials present in the area, the IGP said, “It seems the slain officer had not liaised with the officers of the police station concerned”.
Asked whether Mirwaiz’s supporters were involved in the incident, Khan said the probe is still on.
He said “Everyone who needs to be questioned, would be questioned” in response to a query whether Mirwaiz would be questioned in connection with the case.
He said the slain officer was there to protect everyone praying at the mosque including the Mirwaiz.