Srinagar: A top Pakistani commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who was wanted for the murder of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead on Wednesday in a gun battle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district, police said, calling it “good news”.
In what is seen as a major success for security forces, Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzullah was among the two militants killed in the gunfight that followed a cordon and search operation in Kuthpora village, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told the media.
“Yes, we have ground confirmation that one of the two terrorists killed in Badgam was Naveed Jatt,” the officer said.
Naveed Jatt, who hailed from Multan in Pakistan, was the most wanted LeT commander in Kashmir. He was wanted for the June murder of “Rising Kashmir” Editor Bukhari in Srinagar.
Bukhari was killed by militants along with two security guards. Police believe Naveed Jatt was among the three militants who carried out the crime.
He had escaped from police custody on February 6 when he was taken from the Srinagar Central Jail to S.M.H.S. Hospital in the city. Two policemen were killed during the escape.
The Pakistani was operating in south and central Kashmir. Intelligence agencies believe he was playing a major role in trying to woo youths towards militancy.
Dilbag Singh told the media: “More than two dozen militants have been killed in the last one week. They would lift boys and force them to join militancy. They would also torture them.
“Their elimination is good news for the peace-loving people.
“For the last two months, no new youth has joined militancy in the Valley. That is a welcome development.”
The police chief said that security forces do their best to ensure that civilians were not harmed during anti-militancy operations.
“Stone pelting incidents have come down. Lesser the number of militants, better for the people. Youths should desist from going to encounter sites.
“The militant outfits are unable to recruit more youths. With fresh infiltration, sometimes the number of militants operating here goes up,” he said.