‘We know who handed over grenades to slain prisoner’

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10 more join militant ranks in Sopore: Police

Srinagar: Police have identified the man who had handed over two grenades to the slain Pakistani Kashmir  under trial in a local court of Sopore last week. The man is absconding from last many days and security officials suspect that he may have joined the militant ranks.

Hizbul Mujahideen militant Wahid Noor Khan alias Hamza was produced in Sopore Court by a police party on Saturday last week. The under trail was lodged in Central Jail of Srinagar. Soon after producing him in the court, the party along with the slain left for Central Jail in a police vehicle and when they reached near Hygam — which is some 9 kilometers from the Apple town — a powerful grenade blast took place inside the vehicle leaving the prisoner dead and five policemen injured. Later, one of the injured cops succumbed to his injuries at a hospital here.

Sources revealed to Srinagar-based news agency GNS that a young man hailing from Sopore handed over two grenades to the slain prisoner when he went to bathroom. “On that day, Hamza met several persons in the court. His plan was to escape from the custody and to facilitate his escape, the two hand grenades were given to him. It was all pre-planned,” they said.

The sources said that when the police vehicle reached Hygam, the slain prisoner told cops to stop the vehicle. “He asked for safe passage but the cops pounced on him and during the scuffle, one of the grenades exploded claiming prisoner’s life as well as injuring cops critically,” the sources said. 

The man, who has been identified by police, is absconding from last few days and according to police officials, he was formerly an Over Ground Worker (OGW) of militants. “He was recently released from police custody,” sources said, adding: “there are 99 percent of chances of him joining the militant ranks in full-fledged manner.” The absconder’s family has filed a missing complaint with police.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police (north Kashmir) Garib Das confirmed to GNS that they have identified the man behind handing over of grenades to the slain prisoner. He also confirmed that he is absconding and said: “We are working to locate him,” adding: “further probe is going on.”  

Meanwhile, security sources said that as many as 10 youths hailing from Sopore and its outskirts have joined the ranks of militants since ending 2014 till this date. “They have joined organizations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Badr Mujahideen,” sources said, adding that an Engineer is also among the recruits.

Letter asks Sopore residents to evict non-locals

Srinagar: Police have taken cognizance of a threatening letter asking local residents of Sopore Town to “throw out” non-locals from their rented accommodations within three days.

The threatening letter, which was handed over to Imam of Jamia Masjid Sopore yesterday by two persons, directs residents to evict non-locals out from their accommodation or face death. There is no signature or seal of any outfit on the letter.

It further accuses non-locals of being army informers. “All the Biharis (non-locals) have been accommodated in colonies under a well planned conspiracy. They are here for keeping an eye on Kashmir youth,” the letter alleges. “Those defying our order would be considered informers… So far, whosoever defied our diktats, faced death,” the letter reads.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police (north Kashmir) Garib Das said police has taken a strong notice of the letter. “We are mapping out how many non-locals are in Sopore. We are also working on the strategy to provide security to them,” he said. In reply to a question, he said: “This seems to be handiwork of same group which has been carrying out attacks in Sopore.”

The DIG said that the forces are taking all the measures to provide security to the non-locals in the Sopore. 

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