Top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Qasim, the alleged mastermind of the Udhampur attack on a BSF bus on August 5, was killed in an overnight encounter in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces laid an ambush in the area following specific information about the movements of the LeT commander. “Qasim fell into the ambush along with an accomplice. Abu Qasim was killed in the first contact (exchange of gunfire),” a police officer said.
He was wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and was involved in Udhampur terrorist attack in which two security persons were killed and 10 were injured. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Government had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh, and NIA had also announced a similar reward for giving any information about Qasim. The officer said the LeT commander was active in the state for the last six years and was the most wanted militant commander in J&K. Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, termed the killing of Qasim a great success for the security forces in the Kashmir.
“We have neutralised him during an operation in Khandaypora in Kulgam district in the wee hours today. He was directly or indirectly involved in all major LeT attacks in Kashmir over the past three years,” he said.
Gillani said Qasim, whose real name is Abdul Rehman, was involved in the attack on an Army convoy at Hyderpora in 2013, in which eight soldiers were shot dead. He was also involved in killing of noted cardiologist and former director of Sher- Kashmir – Institute of Medical Sciences, Sheikh Jalal in 2013 at Pampore in Pulwama district. Gillani appreciated the efforts of the cops who were involved in tracking down Qasim and other militants killed in recent operations in the Valley. Qasim was involved in the killing of Altaf Ahmad, who was known for his counter-intelligence operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He was also known as “Altaf Laptop
Qasim managed to escape after killing Altaf and travelled from north Kashmir to south Kashmir without facing any trouble in Srinagar.
“This raises many questions on the security apparatus of the security forces. They are a ahead a step from us on certain occasions . But killing him finally is huge success for us,” said a official to Topyaps on the basics of anonymity .
After the killing of Qasim, Kulgam district is tense and a complete shut-down is observed in the area. Police resorted to aerial firing to disperse hundreds who staged a demonstration and took to the streets protesting against this killing.