25 September 2018 12:56 PM

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JEHANGIR ALI | 9 FEBRUARY, 2018

LeT, Hizb and "Insiders" Together Planned Militants Escape: Police

LeT, Hizb and "Insiders" Together Planned Militants Escape: Police


SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government suspended a senior prison official even as state police today admitted that “insider involvement” was being probed into the escape of a top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander from custody during a sensational attack on a police party at a Srinagar hospital earlier this week.

“It was a well planned conspiracy that exposed loopholes in our security setup. The attack and subsequent escape of Naveed Jat (alias Abu Hunzullah) from the SMHS hospital was not possible without connivance at the Srinagar Central Jail,” Director General of J&K Police SP Vaid said.

The disclosure comes a day after The Citizen reported that the investigators were probing the role of insiders into the daring escape of Naveed who was lodged at Srinagar’s Central Jail. Two policemen, including a head constable, were killed during the attack that has shaken the security establishment in Kashmir.

DGP Vaid said a special investigations team (SIT) headed by a superintendent of police has been formed to probe the incident. “I believe a magisterial probe is also being ordered to ascertain all the facts that led to the attack and the subsequent escape," Vaid said, pointing out that a high value inmate was lodged in Srinagar jail following court orders.

Reports said police have arrested four persons who allegedly facilitated the escape of Naveed from custody when he was taken to SMHS Hospital on Tuesday for a routine check-up. “Police conducted overnight raids at several places in south Kashmir's Pulwama district and arrested five persons who were allegedly involved in helping the escape of Hanzala from police custody, officials said, according to PTI.

At an overcrowded press conference in Srinagar, chief of police for Kashmir region, Munir Khan said three suspected militants identified as Shakil Ahmed, Tika Khan and Syed Tajamul alias Rahil Kachroo along with an overground worker, Muhammad Shafi, who provided vehicle and a bike to ensure escape of Naveed, have been arrested.

“Hizbul Mujahideen militants Hilal Rather also participated in the act as he is the one who provided pistol to Naveed and both fired at two cops, resulting in their death later. We will crack the case fully and arrest rest of the OGWs or militants including Naveed soon,” he said.

Police sources said the attack was planned by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in tandem with the Hizbul outfit. This was also revealed in a latest audio statement by Hizb’s operational commander, Riyaz Naikoo. The statement has gone viral on social media in the Valley.

A photo of the Lashkar commander along with Saddam Padder, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander based in south Kashmir, has also surfaced on social media. Although the veracity of the photo could not be independently confirmed, it appears to have been taken after Naveed escaped from police custody.

Meanwhile, under fire from the Opposition in the state legislature, which is in its budget session, the Jammu and Kashmir government today ordered suspension of Superintendent of Srinagar Central Jail over the escapade of the Lashkar commander from SMHS Hospital.

“Pending enquiry into the incident on 6 February, 2018, at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, leading to the death of the two constables and escape of a militant, Mr Hilal Ahmed Rather , Superintendent, Central Jail, Srinagar is hereby placed under suspension, with immediate effect,” an order issued by J&K’s Home Department’s Principal Secretary, RK Goyal, said.

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