6 LeT Workers Held Over Sopore Attack: Police

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Srinagar: Police on Saturday claimed to have busted a network of Lashker-e-Taiba by arresting six alleged over-ground workers (OGWs) of the outfit involved in last month’s militant attack in Sopore in which two councillors and a cop were killed.

In a statement issued here, a police spokesperson said that the OGW network was busted and the bike used in an attack on Municipal councillors on March 29 was seized by the police.

“After the killing of two Municipal councillors and a Police Man. Multiple CASO's were launched by Police along with other security forces at suspected locations Dangepora, Brath Kalan ,Sidiq Colony Sopore, Model Town , Batpora,” the police spokesperson said.

He said many suspects were picked up for the questioning during which an alleged OGWAshiq Ahmad Pandith of Dangerpora revealed that two militants Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz along with foreign militant Asrar had stayed at his residence for three days and had planned the attack.

“Further during questioning name of another suspect namely Junaid Ahmad Shusha of Model Town Sopore came to fore. He disclosed that he came in contact with Pandith in the month of November 2020 at the residence of his cousin, Umair Ashiq in Model Town Sopore,” he said.

Pandith, the police spokesperson said along with two foreign militants Ahmad and Abu Sariya stayed for the night on instructions of Sayeed Imran, an OGW of LeT outfit.

“Junaid Ahmad Shusha and Umair Ashiq were convinced by Pandith to work for LeT and they were introduced to Sajid Ali, the handler of LeT in PcK. Upon Imran’s disclosure, Umair Ashiq and Sayeed Imran were picked up and confessed that both of them were indeed working for LeT and were providing logistic support to banned organisation to strengthen their network in main town Sopore,” he said.

He further added that investigations revealed that a reccee was conducted on the directions of Pandith and Sajid before carrying out the attack.

The police spokesperson further said that upon revelations of these suspects, another hardcore OGW , Shakir Yousuf Bhat resident of Batpora was apprehended who further revealed that he is Pandith’s cousin and prior to his joining with militants ranks they were working together as mechanic in local workshop at Sopore and was in touch with him since then.

“He told that he used to ferry Mudasir and his associates from Sopore to other places.To execute the militants action which Pandith along with his foreign associate had hatched at the residence of his maternal cousin Ashiq Ahmad during their stay from (March 25 to 28 ) on the directions of main handler from across namely Sajid Ali, Maaz activated his OGW network, including Junaid Shusha,Umair Ashiq and Syed Imran. On his directions Umair visited the site and send back his feedback,” he said.

Then again on 28th, the police spokesperson said, Ashiq again conducted the recce around the complex.

“In the late evening of 28th March this year, Shakir along with his friend Feroz Ahmed Bhat resident of Batpora Sopore went to Dangerpora to bring Pandith and his foreign militant to Batpora,and stayed at the residence of Feroz Ahmad Bhat for the night. From their stay at Feroz's home they again communicated with other OGW's about conducting physical recce,” he said.

“He directed Junaid ahmad Shusha and Syed Imran of Model Town Sopore to remain present near the Municipal office the next day (29th March from 9.00 Hrs) On the next day Shakir took Pandith and foreign militant Asrar on his bike following interiors roads, in order to avoid security check points,” he added.

The duo, he said, reached the place of the occurrence where his other associates were waiting for them as per their prior directions. He further said that before entering the complex, Pandith asked the duo to go inside and to get latest information regarding the presence of police personal and counsellors.

“At about 12.48 hrs militants went inside the complex and indiscriminately opened fire upon Police personal and counsellors resulting on spot death of counsellors Riyaz Ahamd Pir & SPO Shafat Ahmad and seriously injuring counsellor Shamus Din Pir who later succumbed to his injuries,” the police spokesperson said.

“They then boarded Shakir's bike and escaped into Syedpora orchards using interior roads. Sopore Police along with the sister agencies are working tirelessly to nab or eliminate the dreaded militants,” he added.

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