LeT militants give police the slip

A joint operation of the Army, police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to nab two most wanted Laksher-e-Toiba (LeT) militants failed as the duo escaped after a four-hour gunfight in South Kashmir’s district on Wednesday evening.

Reports said LeT divisional commander Mohammad Qasim and his associate Mudasir Sheikh managed to break the cordon in Brinail village. “Qasim, a Pakistani militant fired a rifle grenade towards the troops and fled from the rear end of the village. Security forces fired at the two fleeing commanders but could not kill or trap them,” sources said.

Inspector General of CRPF B N Ramesh rubbished the reports that militants managed to escape due to security lapse. “Our first priority is the safety of the locals and to ensure that there is no damage to life and property,” Ramesh told reporters at the encounter site.

“In residential areas, we exercise maximum restraint in order to prevent civilian casualties. We have launched a manhunt to nab the militants, we will get them soon,” the IG said. Police sources said Qasim took over charge of South Kashmir after the killing of then LeT commander Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Bhai in October 2011.

“He is the most wanted militant as he is the brain behind the recent upsurge in militancy in south Kashmir,” they said.

“Mudasir, a local, is a dreaded militant and has been instrumental in reviving militancy in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district by engaing young boys. He is involved in several attacks on troops and civilians.”

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