J&K Police Says 4 Held Over Soldier, Sarpanch’s Killings

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Srinagar- Police on Monday claimed to have made a breakthrough into the recent killings of a soldier and a Sarpanch in the twin districts of Budgam and Kulgam by arresting four alleged militant associates.

In a statement issued here, a police spokesperson said that it has cracked the case of abduction and killing of army man Sameer Ahmad Malla, by arresting a militant associate of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Giving further details, he said, police station Khag on March 7 received information about the disappearance of soldier Malla from his residence. Accordingly, he said, after lodging a formal missing report, the search to trace the missing army man was launched.

Three days after the missing complaint was filed, the spokesperson said that on March 10, police learnt about the digging of fresh soil at a spot between village Larkipora and Labran Khag.

He said the body was recovered from the spot and a proper case under relevant sections of law was registered and investigation was vigorously taken up.

“During the course of investigation, specific leads were generated which led to one suspect identified as Ather Illahi Sheikh,” he said.

During questioning, the spokesperson said that Sheikh confessed that on March 6, three LeT militants came to his house and stayed there for night and next day pursuant to a well knit conspiracy the soldier was called by the Sheikh to his residence where from he was kidnapped by all the four and thereafter was taken to the spot where from the body was ultimately retrieved.

After killing the solider, he said, Sheikh got the shovel from his house which was used to bury the body.

“The shovel was also recovered by the investigating team. Further investigation into the case is vigorously going on,” he added.

The police also claimed to have cracked the murder case of a Sarpanch by arresting three alleged Hizbul Mujahideen militant associates.

Divulging details, the spokesperson said that on March 11, militants barged into the house of Sarpanch Shabir Ahmad Mir of Adoora Kulgam and killed him after firing indiscriminately upon him.

“In this regard, a case under relevant sections of law was registered and investigation was got conducted through a special investigation team,” he said.

During the course of investigation, the spokesperson said that it was learnt that an active HM militant Farooq Nali alias Umer had received directions from “terror handlers” based in Pakistan to target the PRI members of Kulgam.

On their directions, the spokesperson said that Umer identified the target and gave direction accordingly to active HM militant namely Mushtaq Itoo alias Faizan and Zubair Sofi alias Farhan to execute the “terror act” with the support of their associates —Danish Ahmad Dar, Faisal Hameed Wagay and Nisar Rashid Bhat.

“The directions included to conduct reccee of the Sarpanch's presence, arrange transport and provide logistics to execute the terror act,” he said.

After strenuous efforts, the spokesperson said police arrested the three militant associates involved in the crime and besides seizing the vehicles used in the commission of crime also seized arms & ammunition including 2 Pistols, 3 Pistol Magazines, 11 Pistol rounds, 2 grenades, 1 AK Magazine, and 15 AK47 rounds and other incriminating materials.

“The investigation of the case is going on and based on the investigation more arrests and recoveries are also expected. Efforts are on to neutralise the terrorists involved in this heinous crime,” he added.

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