SRINAGAR: In the second bank robbery within a month, suspected militants looted Rs 13.38 lakhs from a bank in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
A police officer said a group of four to five militants armed with AK-47 rifles barged into the J&K Bank branch at Arihal in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district this afternoon.
“The militants, who had come in two vehicles, decamped with Rs 13.38 lakhs from the bank. Before fleeing from the spot, they fired some rounds in the air,” he said.
The police official said the militants also thrashed some bank employees and broke few computers during the robbery.
Asked whether only new or old currency notes were looted, he said, “Of the 13.38 lakhs looted by militants, 2.23 lakhs were old currency notes while 11.15 lakh were new currency notes.”
After the bank robbery, police, paramilitary and army men rushed to the area and launched a combing and search operation to track down the militants responsible for the bank robbery. The search operation continued for more than an hour. However, no arrests were reported.
Police said another attempt was made to loot a bank branch at Pushkar village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district last evening.
“Unidentified persons had broken a window of the J&K bank branch at Pushkar village. However, they were unable to barge inside because of the iron grills,” a police official said.
He said it looks like a case of robbery attempt. “We have launched investigations”.
Today’s bank robbery in South Kashmir is the second bank robbery in the Valley in a month.
Earlier, on November 21, suspected militants had looted Rs 13 lakh from a bank in Charar-e-Sharief area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Four days after the bank robbery, police had blamed Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba for the robbery.
It claimed to have busted the bank robbery case by arresting five overground workers of Lashkar. Police said that Pakistani commander of Lashkar was the mastermind of the bank robbery.
A police official said militants are resorting to bank robberies because they are facing a shortage of money after demonetization of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.
He said the security around the banks has been increased.
“The banks have also been told to deploy armed guards inside the banks to prevent bank robberies,” the official said.