Srinagar, January 24: The terrorist, who was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama district on Wednesday, was identified as a Pakistani national affiliated with proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, a senior police officer said on Friday.
He said the ultra operated in militancy-infested south Kashmir under code names ‘Abu Saifullah’ and ‘Abu Qasim’.
The officer said the slain terrorist was wanted in connection with the kidnapping and killing of two civilians and threatening special police officers (SPOs) and non-local labourers to leave the Valley.
A close associate of JeM self-styled chief commander Qari Yasir of Pakistan, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kupwara district in July 2013, Saifullah was trapped along with his local associate during a search and cordon operation at Zaintrag village in Awantipora area of Pulwama on Tuesday morning, he said.
The operation, which was launched on specific information, turned into a gunfight when the hiding terrorists opened fire on the joint search parties of police, 50 Rashtriya Rifles and 185 Battalion of the CRPF, the officer said.
The heavy firing by the terrorists resulted in grievous bullet injuries to Sepoy Rahul Ranswal of the Rashtriya Rifles and SPO Shahbaz Ahmad of local police, who were evacuated to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar but both succumbed to injuries there, he said.
During the process of evacuation of the injured jawans, the terrorists fled the cordon area, the officer said, adding they were tracked down in the forest area of Nagander village, 1 km from the encounter site of Zantrag, the next day resulting in a fresh encounter. The “most wanted” terrorist, Saifullah, was killed there.
However, his other associate managed to escape and a hunt is on to neutralise him, the officer said.
“Saifullah has been active in Tral and the Khrew area of Awantipora for more than one-and-a-half years and was a close associate of slain JeM chief Qari Yasir. He was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two civilians – Abdul Qadeer Kohli and Manzoor Ahmad Kohli – and injuring a shopkeeper, Naseer Ahmad Ganie, last year,” he said.
Saifullah was also wanted in a case related to pasting of posters wherein the SPOs were threatened to leave their jobs and non-local labourers were asked to leave the Valley, the officer said. PTI