Top LeT militant Irshad Ahmad Ganai killed in Kashmir encounter

In a major breakthrough, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Army have killed a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander in an encounter in south Kashmir. The militant, Irshad Ahmad Ganai, was allegedly part of a two-member Fidayeen squad that killed 10 soldiers in an ambush in Srinagar.

“This is a big breakthrough for the police,” IGP Kashmir Javed Mujtaba Gilani told The Sunday Express. “He was one of the top commanders in the area and was involved in major attacks on the national highway.”

Irshad GhanieF

On Saturday afternoon, the Special Operations Group of the J&K Police, accompanied by the Army cordoned off the Begum Bagh village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district following a tip-off. That’s when militants opened fire and tried to escape. In the brief encounter, one militant, identified as Ganai, was killed while the other is believed to have escaped.

Ganai was doing a diploma in theatre before he left the course and joined Lashkar militants in 2012. Ganai, police sources said, was initially working as an “over ground worker (OGW)” for the militants but went underground in 2012.

The militant was put in the A++ category and carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. In 2013, police said, he was part of the two-member militant group that ambushed an Army convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Hyderpora in Srinagar, killing 10 soldiers and wounding more than 15.

While escaping with other militants, he had also shot and injured CRPF personnel. The attack was carried out a day before the then prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir.

Police are looking for the other militant who was with Ganai. “The search is still going on,” said Gilani.However, police sources said the other militant, believed to be a Pakistani, Abu Dujana, escaped from the encounter site. Dujana’s name had come up during interrogation of arrested Pakistani militant Naveed, who had told interrogators that he had met Dujana in south Kashmir.

First Published on: September 13, 2015 12:00 am



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