The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday described the killing of Gani Khawaja, chief of Al-Bader militant outfit, as a huge success for security forces against militants.
The police also said it busted a Jaish module that wanted to carry out Pulwama-style Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack on the highway in Kashmir Valley. The police said even after the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan along LoC, the police, and other security agencies are keeping vigil in the Valley and are not lowering the guard.
“The police in Sopore got information about the presence of Gani Khawaja at a particular place. The Sopore police reached the spot and laid cordon. They were fired upon which led to an encounter. Later, the army and the CRPF joined the operation and in the encounter, Gani Khawaja was killed,” the inspector general of police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said addressing a press conference.
He told that two militants escaped in the initial cordon. “Khawaja had gone to Pakistan for arms training in 2000. He returned to Kashmir in 2001. He was an active militant for five years in the Baramulla area north Kashmir. In 2007, the police arrested him. He remained in jail after being booked under the PSA till 2008. From 2008 to 2018, he would work as an over ground worker (OGW). In January 2018, he became active again. After August 5, 2019, he left Hizbul Mujahedeen and joined the Albadar outfit and became its chief,” Kumar said.
He said Pakistan has reactivated Albadar since 2020 and many have joined it, Khawaja would recruit new boys in the outfit.
“All those militants of Albadar killed in recent months had joined militancy through him. Besides, he would also receive new infiltrated militants coming from Pakistan and escort them to south Kashmir and north Kashmir,” Kumar said.
“His killing is a big success for the police and security forces. He was a key figure in arranging logistics to the militants and would plan where to attack. He had a very crucial role. It is a big success and it was achieved without any collateral damage,” he said.
Besides, he said the Police in the Awantipora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district have busted a Jaish module after arresting BA student Sahil Nazir from Pampore. He was motivated by Jaish through Telegram.
Kumar said Nazir and his three other accomplices had arranged a second-hand car and had to get explosives from north Kashmir to carry out the IED on the pattern of Pulwama attack. He said the Maruti car has been recovered from them and they have already confessed to carrying a grenade attack on the CRPF on January 25, 2021.
Kumar said even after the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan along LoC, the police are keeping vigil in the valley and are not lowering the guard. He said security reviews of vital installations have been carried out.
He said the recovery of sticky bombs in the Jammu region has added another dimension. “We haven’t recovered any such bomb in Kashmir so far. But I have explained to the CRPF at the airport how it can be planted. We have alerted people as well,” he added.