SRINAGAR: Almost three weeks after the capture of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant Mohammad Naved from Udhampur, security forces achieved another major success on Thursday by capturing alive one more Pakistani militant from Rafiabad area in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was captured during an encounter between LeT militants and the Army in which three of his associates were killed.
“A 22-year-old Pakistani militant was captured alive in an encounter in the forest area of Kazinag Dhar ridge in Rafiabad in Baramulla district this (Thursday) afternoon,” an Army official said. He said the captured militant belongs to LeT and his three associates were killed in the gunbattle while one of his associates was killed in an seperate gunfight on Wednesday in Uri sector.
Police sources identified the arrested LeT militant as Javed Ahmad alias Sajjad alias Obaidullah of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan. However, Army official said it may not be his true identity.
Refusing to reveal the arrested militant’s true identity, the official, said by revealing his true identity the follow-up operation can be compromised.
He said they have learnt a lesson from Naved, the Pakistan militant captured in Udhampur area on August 5. Naved and his Pakistani accomplice Mohammad Noman alias Momin had ambushed a BSF convoy in Udhampur, killing two BSF men and in the retaliatory firing Momin was killed while Naved was captured by locals and handed over to the security forces.
“By revealing arrested militant’s true identity, we don’t want to give Pakistan any chance of cover-up as they did in Naved’s case. We want to keep them guessing,” the official said.
He said the LeT militant arrested on Thursday was in the custody of the Army.
“He was airlifted to Srinagar, where he will be jointly interrogated by police and Army officers,” the official said adding he will be asked from where he and his group infiltrated, what was the strength of the group and what was their motive.
Giving further details, he said a group of five militants had infiltrated from across the LoC and was intercepted by the Army in Uri on Monday. “After the initial encounter, the militants escaped into the woods, but were followed by the Army men”. He said an effective cordon was established by the Army and Special Forces were air dropped by helicopter and Army helicopters were pressed into service to prevent the militants from escaping.
“There was a fresh encounter with the militants yesterday (Wednesday) morning in Uri. A militant was killed in the gunfight while others escaped,” the official said adding the combing operation was widened.
He said after receiving inputs that militants had fled from the area and were hiding in Kazinag Dhar ridge in the forest area of Rafiabad, a joint search operation was launched by the Army and Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K Police on Wednesday evening.
“The militants who were hiding in a cave in the ridge fired on the search party. The fire was returned by the security men and in the ensuing gunfight, security forces lobbed tear smoke shells and chilly grenades towards the cave,” the official said. He said in the 24-hour-long gunfight, three were killed and one was captured alive.