Top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Qasim, the mastermind of Udhampur ambush, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. Two BSF jawans were killed and 11 were left injured on the early morning of August 5 when their vehicle was caught in a terror ambush in Udhampur region of Jammu. One terrorist was killed and other was caught alive, later identified as Mohammed Naved, in a counter-offensive by the BSF.
Abu Qasim, a Pakistani national, was also said to be behind several terror strikes in the Kashmir Valley in the past three years.
A joint team of the Army and police had launched an operation in Khandipora village of Kulgam following a tip-off about Qasim’s presence in the area. A gun battle ensued soon after Qasim along with his accomplices tried to break cordon laid by security forces.
“We have neutralised a top Lashkar commander Abu Qasim during an operation in Khandaypora in Kulgam district in the wee hours today. It is a major success as Qasim was directly or indirectly involved in all major LeT attacks in Kashmir over the past three years,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir SJM Gillani told the press in Srinagar.
Giving further details, Mr. Gillani claimed that Qasim was also involved in the attack on army convoy at Hyderpora in the city in 2013 that left eight soldiers dead. The militant commander was also involved in killing of noted cardiologist Sheikh Jalal in 2013 at Pampore in Pulwama district. He is also said to be involved in the killing of Altaf Ahmad, one of the best counter-terrorism police officers in Jammu and Kashmir, earlier this month in a gunbattle in Bandipore district.
Lauding the efforts of the cops involved in the operation, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir Police K Rajendra said, “It was a great achievement for the security forces”.
Abu Qasim was one of the top most wanted militants in the state carrying a reward of Rs 10 lakh. National Investigating Agency, which is investigating the Udhampur case, had also announced a similar reward for information leading to his arrest or killing.
Police and Security forces have expressed hope that Qasim’s killing will dent the operational capabilities of Lashkar in Kashmir and also the coordination between various militant outfits in the valley.
(With inputs from the PTI)