In a major success for security forces, top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Qasim, accused of masterminding the Udhampur attack, was killed in an overnight encounter in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.The Indian Army along with J&K Police and para-military forces launched a joint operation last night after getting specific information of Qasim’s whereabouts. The self-styled
LeT commander was behind several terror strikes in the Kashmir Valley in the past three years.
30-year-old Qasim, who was from Bahawalpur in Pakistan, had planned the attack on a Border Security Force convoy in Udhampur on August 5, according to the National Investigation Agency. Two BSF personnel were killed in that attack.The operation began at 2 am after intelligence that 28-year-old Qasim, a resident of Bhawalpur in Pakistan, was holed up in a house at Khandipura village in Kulgam, along with an accomplice, official sources said.The village is located 80 kilometres from here.
A joint team of Army, police and para-military forces was rushed in and the village was cordoned off. Qasim was killed when he and his accomplices tried to break cordon laid by security forces.
“We have neutralised a top Lashkar commander Abu Qasim during an operation in Khandaypora in Kulgam district in the wee hours today. It is a major success as Qasim was directly or indirectly involved in all major LeT attacks in Kashmir over the past three years,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir S J M Gillani told reporters here.
Qasim was one of the top most wanted militants in the state for whom the state police had announced a reward of ₹10 lakh. The NIA, which is investigating the Udhampur case, had also announced a similar reward for information leading to his arrest or killing.Gillani said Qasim, whose real name is Abdul Rehman, was the mastermind of the Udhampur attack on a BSF convoy on August 5 this year.
He was also said to be involved in the killing of Altaf Ahmad, one of the best counter-terrorism police officers in Jammu and Kashmir, earlier this month in a gunbattle in Bandipore district. Police say Mr Ahmad, along with two colleagues, was on a covert mission in the district to track down Qasim.
Qasim, around 28 years old, was a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan.He was on the radar of security agencies for a while now. He was behind the attack on an Army convoy in 2013 in Srinagar in which eight Army personnel got killed.