Police have arrested four youth from Kulgam area of South Kashmir in connection with the bank robberies and their role is being investigated for links with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Abu Ismail, who is believed to have carried out the attack on Amarnath yatris on Monday that left seven pilgrims dead and 19 others injured.
A senior police official said that four youth of Kulgam have been arrested for their involvement in the bank robberies and the special investigation team (SIT) which has been constituted by the police is quizzing them for the involvement in yatra attack.
According to police officials four militants, two of who are from Pakistan, are involved in the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
Officials said that LeT commander, Abu Ismail, is the mastermind of Monday’s attack and he was assisted by another Pakistani militant and two local militants in carrying out the attack.
After investigation about their involvement, police are also questioning the four youth who have been picked up about the whereabouts of Ismail, who has inflicted heavy casualties on the security forces by taking part in many militant attacks.
“A manhunt has been launched for the four militants who used two motorcycles to escape from the scene after attacking the pilgrims bus’’ said a senior security official.
According to senior police officials investigating the case, the Gujarat registered bus, which was attacked, had reached at Jammu on July 7 following which it was registered at the Amarnath shrine facilitation centre.
On way from Jammu to Srinagar the bus was part of the regular convoy of the pilgrims and travelled in a security escort upto the base camp of yatris in Baltal.
However, after the pilgrims in the bus paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine on July 8, they had returned back to Srinagar on their own. In Srinagar they stayed for two days as tourists and subsequently on July 10 at around 4:30 PM they left Srinagar for Katra.
Sources said that the tyre of the vehicle got punctured at a place nearly 10 km away from Khanabal towards the evening and after the passengers had food at a roadside eatery, the pilgrims moved on and came under the attack of militants at Batengoo in Anantang at around 8:17 pm.
Details that have emerged about Ismail are that he is among the “most wanted” Pakistani militants in Kashmir and in his early 20s, has carried out ambushes on Army convoys along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
A senior police official said that Ismail is wanted in at least three bank robberies in Pulwama and one in Budgam district and has been operating out from South Kashmir area as well.
“He is believed to be active in Kashmir after having crossed over to India two years ago,” a police official added.