Pulwama: Unknown gunmen on Friday looted another business unit of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Ratnipora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district. Pertinently, this is the second bank heist in less than 24 hours. On Thursday gunmen believed to be associated with Hizbul Mujahideen took away two lakh Rupees from Marhama branch of the bank in Bijbehara area.
Eyewitnesses said that three masked gunmen barged into a bank branch in Ratnipora some 15 Kms from main Shopian and decamped with cash.
An official said that before looting the cash, gunmen damaged the CCTV cameras installed in the bank. Police officials said that the gunmen looted Rs one lakh and ninety eight thousand rupees from the bank and managed to escape from the spot.
Incidentally, this is the second time in less than a year that the Ratnipora branch of the J&K bank has been targeted by gunmen. On 15 December 2016 gunmen barged into Ratnipora branch and managed to loot 9.84 lakhs rupees.
Notably, this is the second incident of bank robbery in South Kashmir in less than 24 hours.
On Thursday afternoon, gunmen managed to loot more than 5 lakh rupees from JK bank branch Marhama Sangam.
Police in both incidents claimed that Hizbul Mujahideen militants are behind these incidents.
In Shopian incident, police claimed to have identified the militants behind incidents as Mohammad Abbass Bhat S/o Abdul Jabbar Bhat R/o Mantribugh, Ishfaq Thoker S/o Abdul Majeed Thokar R/o Padderpora and Zubair Ahmad Turray S/o Bashir Ahmad Turray R/o Shopian.
Police said that on the basis of technical and human intelligence available with the police they were identified.
Meanwhile, police in Shopian appealed the general public for any information which leads to these militants. “The person will be suitably rewarded in cash,” police said.
Police has already registered a case under FIR no. 264/2017 U/S 392 RPC, 7/25 IA Act in police station Shopian in this incident.
For Marhama robbery incident police claimed that two militants identified as Rasik Nabi Bhat @ Owais son of Ghulam Nabi Bhat resident of Nowdal (Kirman Mohalla) and Salia Mohammad Akhoon @ Rehaan son of Ghulam Mohammad Akhoon resident of Arampora Gurikadal Medoora Tral, HM outfit are involved in the robbery.
Pertinently, cash transactions at about 45 branches of Pulwama and Shopian districts were stopped in May this year in the wake of gunmen targeting banks and killing of five policemen and two bank employees on May 1st this year in Kulgam district.
Since then only one bank robbery was reported in Arwani Bijbehara on July 31.
Major bank robberies in South Kashmir from last one year:
On October 28 2016: 4 gunmen barged into JK Bank branch Rohmoo and managed to loot 7 lakh rupees.
On 21 November 2016: Gunmen attacked JK Bank branch in Arihal village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district and managed to loot 13 lakhs rupees.
On 15 December 2016: Gunmen barged into Ratnipora branch in Pulwama district of South Kashmir and managed to loot 9.84 lakhs rupees.
On 16 February 2017: Rs 3.20 lakhs were looted by unknown gunmen from JK bank branch Turkwangam Shopian.
On 19 April 2017: Gunmen looted JK bank’s branch Harmain branch, of Shopian district and looted Rs 10 lakhs.
On May 02: Gunmen barged into Ellaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) in Kadyer village of Kulgam district and managed to loot Rs 65,850
On May 03: Unknown gunmen looted EDB branch Wahibugh in Pulwama district and looted Rs 4.9 lakh.
On May 03: Rs 1.3 lakh rupees were looted from JK Bank branch Nihama Kakapora of Pulwama district
On July 31: JK Bank branch in Arwini area of Bijbehara Tehsil was attacked by unknown gunmen and was robbed off Rs 5.20 lakhs.
On October 12: Rs 5.42 lakhs were looted from JK bank branch Marhama Bijbehara.