Srinagar, Nov 28: Government forces on Wednesday morning killed the top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) ‘commander’ Naveed Jatt in a gunfight at Chattergam area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Besides Naveed, another militant was also killed while at least three soldiers sustained injuries in the fierce gun battle.
At least three residential houses were damaged in the encounter while locals accused forces of vandalization of property including ambulances belonging to Sub-District Hospital Chattergam.
Naveed alias Hanzalla, according to police, was wanted by law in a series of militancy related incidents, including the killing of noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
After speculations, Director General of Police (DGP) of Jammu and Kashmir Dilbagh Singh confirmed his death in a presser at Police Control Room Srinagar.
The gunfight broke out as a cordon and search operation was launched after government forces received specific information about the presence of militants in the district’s Kuthpora Chattergam area. As the search party closed in on the militants, they opened fired on the forces, triggering the encounter.
The police said Naveed was “part of militant Ajmal Kasab’s group at a madrassa in Pakistan, where he had undergone arms training”.
As per police records, he had infiltrated into Kashmir in October 2012.
Police had managed to take him into custody in 2014, but Naveed escaped in February 2018 while being taken to SMHS hospital in Srinagar for medical treatment from the Central Jail Srinagar.
Two policemen were killed in the firing that ensued.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken for case records and probe their complicity in other cases. Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation in the matter,” a police spokesman said.
Eyewitnesses at the encounter site said that at least three militants managed to escape from the gunfight spot.
A video showing locals rescuing a militant is already viral on social media. A medico at SDH Chattergam alleged that forces damaged ambulances and stopped injured from being referred to Srinagar, a charge refuted by police.
The killing of Naveed Jatt sparked clashes in Chattergam where many people were injured.
“More than a dozen people have suffered injuries, with one person suffering pellet injury in the eye while another has suffered a bullet injury in the thigh. Three injured were referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital for treatment,” said a medico.
Clashes also erupted at Degree College Bemina where students pelted stones on deployed forces. Authorities susp
ended internet service in Budgam and Pulwama district while high speed mobile internet was also choked in Kashmir capital Srinagar.
At Kashmir University, students offered funeral prayers in absentia for Naveed.
Lashkar pays tribute
Srinagar, Nov 28: Chief Lashkar-e-Taiba, Mahmood Shah, paid immense tribute to slain militants Naveed Jatt and his associate who were killed in an encounter in Budgam on Wednesday.
“We pay tribute to the sacrifice of our heroes who achieved martyrdom today in Budgam. Both the warriors were true sons of soil who fought the invaders and their lackeys with great courage to the last breath of their lives,” read an emailed statement from LeT.
“Every soul in Jammu Kashmir is heart-wrenched on the loss of their son,” the LeT Chief said in the statement regarding Naveed Jatt.
“Glad tidings are for the Kashmiris who feed and take care of these warriors as their own sons and show up in their funeral processions in massive numbers so as to record their protest,” Mahmood Shah added.
He, as per the statement, requested the Kashmiri public to not to pay heed to “Indian propaganda.”
Mahmood Shah thanked the public for their “immense and unmatched love and support for the freedom fighters.”