New Delhi: Top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, alias Kamran, suspected to be the mastermind of the attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulawama, is among three terrorists who were killed in an overnight encounter. Five Army men, including a major, were also martyred. A deputy inspector general of police, a Rashtriya Rifles commander of the rank of brigadier and a lieutenant colonel were injured.
The encounter came on the heels of the local police and Army jointly launching a cordon and search operation at Pingilana village in Pulwama district. The terrorists came out firing during house-to-house search based on intelligence input that some of those in the back-up team of the Pulwama attack were hiding in the village, not far away from the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Home Ministry sources said suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar, a local school dropout who worked as a mason, was only driver of the car that hit the CRPF bus and he could not have acquired expertise in just 11 months of recruitment to assemble 100 to 200 kg of explosives.
A security agency report has claimed it was an Afghanistan-trained IED expert who smuggled the explosives from across the border in Kathua district and assembled the lethal mix. In the line of suspicion had been Ghani, alias Kamran, a close associate of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, who was suspected to be hiding somewhere in south Kashmir.
The security forces stumbled on his hideout on Sunday night.Another JeM terrorist, Hilal, was also killed. According to India Today TV, Indian intelligence agencies had failed to take note of a declaration in Karachi eight days before the Pulwama attack by Maulana Rauf Asghar, younger brother of globally wanted Masood Asghar, on the impending suicide attacks in Kashmir and other parts of India.
The threat was issued at a rally organised by the terror outfit on the so-called “Kashmir Solidarity Day” on February 5. Rauf even referred to Rashid Ghazi while stating that “last year I had people on my right and left, but they have left for Kashmir to bleed India.”
He also declared that those who have already crossed the borders will “attack India in its heartland and major cities.” Meanwhile, many questions are being asked about the Pulwama attack that the authorities refuse to answer but the issue has reverberated on the social media.
2 bravehearts lost in 3 days
According to Army sources, Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal of Dehra Dun is among those who died in the overnight encounter with terrorists in Pulwama. The officer was just 34 years old and is survived by his wife Nikita Kaul. And this, just when the last rites of Major Chitresh Bisht were still underway in Haridwar.
Bisht was killed on Saturday while defusing a mine on the Line of Control in Nowshera sector. He was cremated in Haridwar on Monday afternoon. Sepoy Hari Singh, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, both 27, and 37-year-old Havaldar Sheo Ram were also killed in the 12-hour encounter. They hailed from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, respectively.
ACE RECRUIT: In photos released by security agencies, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, alias Kamran, suspected to be the mastermind of the attack on the CRPF convoy, is a thin, nondescript man sitting holding an AK-47 rifle. But the deceptively lethal terrorist in salwar kameez was the “chief operational commander” of the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
He was known to be an ace terror recruiter tasked with radicalizing and training terrorists in the Kashmir Valley. Sources say Kamran had been hunted for years but had managed to stay off the radar as he travelled from village to village to initiate young men into terror. The Pulwama suicide bomber was his recruit.