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regular-article-logo Sunday, 03 March 2024

Militant plot to target off-duty policemen in Srinagar unearthed, says J&K top cop

Director-general of police R.R. Swain’s claim comes amid a series of targeted attacks on policemen enjoying leisure time with family and friends in the Valley

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 18.12.23, 05:59 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo.

A militant plot to target off-duty policemen in Srinagar has been unearthed, the Jammu and Kashmir police chief said on Sunday, alleging the involvement of “hybrid militants”.

The term refers to alleged militants who have no previous record of militancy and lead “normal lives”.

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Director-general of police R.R. Swain’s claim comes amid a series of targeted attacks on policemen enjoying leisure time with family and friends in the Valley.

Swain said the police had arrested three hybrid militants for the December 9 attack on off-duty police constable Mohammad Hafeez Chak at Bemina in Srinagar, which left the policeman badly injured.

Two of the three accused lived in the same area and led “normal lives”, Swain
said.

He identified the three as Imtiyaz Ahmed Khanday and Danish Ahmad Malla of Hamdaniya Colony in Bemina, and Mehnan Khan of Rainawari, Srinagar.

The Valley has witnessed three attacks on off-duty policemen in less than two months, two of them in Srinagar.

On October 31, suspected militants killed head constable Ghulam Mohammad Dar outside his home at Wailoo Kralpora village in Tangmarg, north Kashmir.

Police inspector Masroor Wani, playing cricket with his friends, was critically injured in a militant attack on October 29 and died of his wounds five weeks later. The killers remain at large.

Swain said the trio arrested for the attack on Chak were working at the behest of their Pakistan-based handler, Hamza-Burhan, who hails originally from Pulwama. He said Imtiyaz was the one who had pulled the trigger.

“Of the three terrorists, Danish Malla was the mastermind who hatched a conspiracy to attack police constable Muhammad Hafeez Chak, who was on his way home after performing his duty on December 9,” the police chief said.

“Six bullets were fired at him. Two pierced through and one hit his spine. (It) was removed by doctors. The injured constable is stable.”

Three of the bullets missed.

Swain said that while interrogating the three accused, the police had learnt that they had several other targets.

“Some of them had nearly been finalised, others were halfway through, and still others were in the initial stages of planning,” he said.

“It is not typical that you go and attack where they (policemen) are going home, at a shop, going to a mosque and target them in such situations.”

Swain emphasised that the arrests had not just brought the “guilty to the fore” but prevented the killings of several policemen and others.

He said the weapon used was a Canik TP09, a Turkey-made pistol that he described as a high-quality small arm smuggled into Kashmir through drones from across the border.

“This is not the first time we have recovered (such a weapon). We have been seeing a trend, a pattern in this category (of its use here),” Swain said.

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