Unidentified gunmen struck at two banks in South Kashmir on Wednesday and decamped with a cash worth Rs 6 lakh from the banks. The incidents mark a new trend of the rise in the incidents of bank robberies in the militancy infested areas here.
In the last three days at least four incidents of bank robberies have been reported in the militancy infested areas of South Kashmir. Earlier during the day armed gunmen entered the Wahibugh branch of the Elaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) at around 1.50 pm and fled after looting the money at gunpoint. The bank employees informed the police following which a case was registered.
A police party rushed to the scene and a hunt was launched for the gunmen. A bank official said that in the afternoon four heavily armed militants came to the bank and looted away near Rs 4.9 lakh. A local resident of Wahibug, Ghulam Ahmad Teli, said that he had come out from the mosque after offering prayers, when he saw the people assembled around the bank branch.
“When I inquired, I learnt that the bank has been looted,’’ he said. Two youth who were sitting on a shop front were asked by the gunmen not to move before they fled with the cash. During the day gunmen resorted to another robbery in Pulwama and looted Jammu and Kashmir bank branch at Kakapora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and decamped with Rs 130000.
On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen had barged into the Yaripora branch of the EDB and took away Rs 65,000. On 1 May, militants attacked a cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank and shot dead five policemen and two bank security guards in Damhal Hanji Pora area of Kulgam district in south Kashmir.
The policemen and security guards were returning to the district headquarters after delivering cash at a bank branch. Yesterday gunmen had also taken away Rs 65000 rupees from an Ellaquai Dehati bank branch in Kader village of adjacent Shopian district.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Rayees Bhat said that investigations have been started to identify the gunmen behind the looting incidents.
“In Nehama robbery case, we have identified one LeT militant who is involved in the heist.
In Wahibugh bank, Rs 4.9 lakh were looted. We are investigating to nab the looters,” the SSP said.
The incidents of bank robberies have seen a sharp rise and the new trend has emerged as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, led BJP government at the Centre scrapped the old currency notes in the month of November.
Over two dozen incidents of bank robberies and bid by gunmen to loot ATMs have been reported for the last over 4 months. A senior police official said that the robberies have taken place as the “militants are facing shortage of cash.’’
However, Hizbul Mujahidin (HM) has recently clarified that the militants were not facing any shortage of cash and were not behind the incident of bank robberies.
1. On 2 May 2017, unidentified gunmen looted Rs 65000 from an Ellaquai Dehati bank in Kader village of Kulgam district.
Unidentified gunmen on 21 November 2016 looted Rs 12 lakh cash Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Malpora in Charwani area in Charar-e-Sharif area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
2. Four masked gunmen barged into the Jammu and Kashmir Bank branch at Arihal in Pulwama district on 8 December 2016 and took away Rs 10 lakhs cash at gunpoint.
3. On December 15, 2016, masked gunmen looted Rs 11 lakh cash from JK Bank in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
4. On 16 February 2017, four masked gunmen looted Rs 3 lakh from JK Bank branch in Turqwangam village in Shopian district of south Kashmir.
5. On 19 April this year, unidentified gunmen looted away Rs 5 lakh cash from the Harmain branch of JK Bank.