Local cop arrested on suspicion of aiding attack on pilgrims in Kashmir
Srinagar, India - Indian investigators arrested a local policeman on suspicion of aiding the last week’s terror attack that killed seven Hindu pilgrims heading to Amarnath in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Saturday.
Claiming a major breakthrough in cracking the July 10 attack on a bus, the special investigation team (SIT) officials are now questioning a ruling legislator from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for links with the arrested policeman, official sources said.
“The SIT is questioning a ruling PDP legislator since the arrested policeman, identified as Touseef Ahmad of the state security wing, was deployed as the legislator’s personal security,” police officials said.
The policeman from Pulwama district was picked up on Thursday by the investigators following a phone intercept.
The intercept, according to sources, is based on the policeman’s conversation with a handler of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, which is suspected of being involved in the attack.
The Jammu and Kashmir police said the attack was carried out by the LeT and a Pakistani national, Muhammad Abu Ismail, along with another foreigner and three local militants were involved in the attack.
“The police is trying to ascertain as to who provided the details about the movement of the vehicle during the Yatra,” the officials said.
So far, around 20 persons have been detained for questioning in connection with the attack.
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims trek over moun- tain trails to reach Amarnath caves, around 3,900m above sea level, in Kashmir every year. The devotees worship the natural ice formation at the caves as a symbol of Shiva, the Hindu deity of destruction.
Two militants killed
Two suspected Jaish-eMuhammad (JeM) militants were killed by security forces during an ongoing anti-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday, while the remaining militants entered a cave in the densely forested area.
Security officials search people heading to the Amarnath shrine cave, at Pahalgam in Anantnag district, southeast of Srinagar, on July 11