SRINAGAR: The suspected militants on Wednesday looted two banks in volatile South Kashmir within the span of one and a half hour and decamped with over Rs 6 lakhs while in a separate attack, militants snatched five rifles from policemen guarding a court complex in Shopian district last evening.
A police official said a group of militants barged into Elaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) branch at Wahibugh area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district at around 1.50 pm today.
He said the militants threatened the bank employees at gunpoint and decamped with about Rs 4.90 lakhs from the bank.
After the bank robbery, a contingent of police and paramilitary personnel reached the bank to take stock of the situation.
The police officials talked to the bank staff to know how many militants were involved in the robbery.
As the investigation into the bank robbery was going on, militants at J&K Bank’s Nihama branch in Kakapora area of Pulwama at around 3.30 pm.
“The militants looted Rs 1.30 lakh from the bank on gunpoint,” a police official said.
He said the initial investigation has revealed that militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba were involved in the bank robbery.
“We have launched an investigation into both the bank robberies,” the police officer said.
It was the third bank robbery in South Kashmir in two days.
Yesterday also militants had looted Rs 65,000 from Elaquai Dehati Bank branch in Kadyer area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
The Kashmir has witnessed a surge in bank robberies after old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were scrapped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November last year.
DIG South Kashmir S P Pani told New India Express that militants are resorting to bank robberies because they are facing a cash crunch.
He said the measures are being taken to prevent militants from looting banks in the future.
Meanwhile, a group of militants snatched five rifles from policemen guarding District Court complex in Shopian town in South Kashmir last evening.
A police official said militants barged into the court complex at around 10.30 pm yesterday. “Three policemen deployed there could not retaliate as they were overpowered by the militants”.
He said after overpowering the cops, militants decamped with five rifles --- four INSAS and one AK-47.
The incident took place after militants had attacked a bank cash van on Monday killing seven persons including five policemen and two bank guards. The militants had looted four AK-rifles from the slain policemen.
On March 26, militants had snatched four rifles from cops by attacking policemen guarding residence of senior PDP leader and MoS for Hajj and Auqaf Farooq Andrabi at Shishtergam village of Dooru in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
DIG South Kashmir S P Pani said a manhunt has been launched to track the militants involved in weapon snatching.
He said militants are resorting to weapon snatching because they are facing a shortage of arms and ammunition.