Kashmir's Most Wanted Militant, Mastermind of Udhampur Attack Killed

Published: 29th October 2015 01:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2015 02:18 PM   |  A+A-


Army personnel march towards the site where militants hiding during the ongoing encounter in which four army jawans and one militants killed at Hafruda forest area of Handwara in north Kashmir on October 5. | PTI

SRINAGAR: Police and security forces dealt a severe jolt to militants in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday by killing Lashkar-e-Toiba’s top commander Abu Qasim, who was also Kashmir’s most wanted militant and mastermind of many militant attacks including August 5 Udhampur attack on BSF convoy.

“On specific information about presence of militants, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police and army at village Khandaypora in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district last evening. During the combing operation, security men came under fire and in the retaliatory firing LeT Divisional Commander Abdul Rehman alias Abu Qasim was killed,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir S J M Gilani announced during a press conference called in the morning today.

He said firing has stopped but search operation is going on as two accomplices of Qasim are said to be trapped in the area.

The IGP termed Abu Qasim’s killing as a major success of security forces and severe jolt to Lashkar. “It is also jolt to militancy in the region as he was coordinating activities with other militant groups”.

28-year-old Qasim, a resident of  Bahawalpur, Multan in Pakistan, was active in Kashmir since last five years.

He was functioning as Divisional Commander of LeT in Kashmir and carried a bounty of Rs 20 lakhs.

Qasim, according to police, was most wanted militant in Kashmir, and was was involved in planning of all major militant attacks in the Valley during the period.

Police said Qasim was mastermind of August 5 attack on a BSF convoy of Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Udhampur. Two BSF men were killed and 12 others injured in the attack. A Pakistani militant Noman was killed while another Pakistani militant Mohammad Naved was arrested by security forces with the help of locals.

Naved had told his interrogations that he and Noman were assigned the task to carry attack on security convoy in Udhampur by Qasim, who had provided them lodging and boarding. 

After August 5 Udhampur attack, Qasim had come under the radar of the security forces and a massive manhunt was launched to track him down.

NIA, which is probing Udhampur attack, and J&K police were coordinating their activities to track Qasim. In fact, some LeT militants, who were close to Qasim, were killed in gunfights with security forces in South Kashmir, which was said to be his (Qasim’s) base.

“He remained under our radar and was feeling the pressure. But he hit back by killing a police officer Altaf Ahmad Dar, who was an expert in counter insurgency, in North Kashmir’s Bandipora on October 7 by allegedly luring him into the trap,” a police officer said.

He said after the attack Qasim managed to return to his base in South Kashmir. “However, he remained under our radar and was finally killed in a gunfight during the preceding night”.

Qasim had given slip to security forces many a times in the past.

Earlier, there were reports that Qasim alongwith some other militants had been trapped in the forest area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora, where army and police have launched a major combing operation. An army man was killed in the gunfight with militants in the forest area  last evening.

Police said Qasim had planned almost all major militant attacks in the Valley during past five years. “In fact in some operations, he had participated himself”.

“He (Qasim) was part of the LeT squad which carried out attack on an army convoy at Hyderpora Srinagar 2013,” police said.

At least eight army men were killed and 17 others injured in the attack, which was the deadliest militant attack in the Valley.


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