J&K police says hospital firing case cracked

J&K police says hospital firing case cracked

J&K police says hospital firing case cracked

Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday said it has cracked the case of the escape of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzalla from police custody at a Srinagar hospital on Tuesday, by arresting four people involved in it.

"We have arrested three militants and an OGW (over ground worker) involved in this act. They include Shakil Ahmed, Tika Khan and Syed Tajamul alias Rahil Kachroo. The OGW has been identified as Muhammad Shafi, who provided vehicle and a bike to ensure escape of Naveed," Muneer Khan, additional director general of police (ADGP), said in a hurriedly called press conference, here.

 He said that one of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants Hilal Rather also participated in the act and "he is the one who provided pistol to Naveed and both fired at two cops, resulting in their death later."

"The SIT (special investigation team) started the  probe and on the basis of scientific evidence, we ascertained who or what were involved. They were identified. Raids were conducted. After their arrest, we are left with Naveed and Hilal Rather, who are still at large," Khan said.

The ADGP while appreciating his officers' efforts to crack the case in limited time, said, "We could have fired in hospital but it would have killed civilians. We are police officers, not terrorists. We don't believe in killing innocents, they do."

Police suspect  insiders role in the audacious attack and subsequent escape of Naveed. Earlier, state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid had admitted that the attack was not possible without connivance at the Srinagar Central Jail, where Naveed was lodged.

"A SIT headed by an SP-level officer is looking into this incident. I believe a magisterial probe is also being ordered to ascertain all that led to the attack and the subsequent escape," Vaid said.

Naveed was arrested by security forces from south Kashmir's Kulgam district in June 2014 from a hideout. At the time of his arrest he was LeT's district commander for Shopian and close associate of the outfit's slain chief Abu Qasim.

A police official, in a know-how of the details of the case, told DH that the SIT was probing all angles and the CCTV footage generated from one of the camera's-in which some unknown people are seen fleeing amid heavy patient-attendant rush-is being examined.

 The attack was carried outside the out-patient-department (OPD) of the SHMS hospital in Srinagar, when six prisoners including Naveed of Multan Pakistan were brought for a medical check-up at 11:30 am on Tuesday.

"The SIT is also checking how weapon came into Naveed's hand. The CCTV footage shows that it was Naveed who fired at a police party escorting prisoners to the hospital. The weapon is clearly seen in his hand while fleeing from the hospital," the official said.

"The SIT is ascertaining as to how the weapon was handed over to Naveed and whether it was provided to him in the jail or somewhere else. The SIT has also questioned the policemen who were accompanying the prisoners from the Central Jail," he revealed.

 On Wednesday, a voice message was circulated on social media, purportedly by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo, in which he is heard saying that "two of its men who were sent on a mission to free Naveed, were safely back." However, the police said it is premature to comment on Naikoo's claim.