The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said that three militants, including one suspected to be involved in the killing of actor Amreen Bhat and government employee Rahul Bhat, were killed in a gunfight in Budgam district.
The militant was identified as Lateef Rather alias Abdullah. The identities of the other two are not yet known.
Additional Director General of Police Vijay Kumar said that the three militants were part of a group called The Resistance Front. The police believe the outfit is an offshoot of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, but itself claims to be an “indigenous resistance” which aims to “flush out the occupational Indian regime”.
“He [Lateef] was involved in several terror crime cases including several civilian killings and atrocities,” Kumar said. “A big success for us.”
Amreen Bhat, who was known for her role in television dramas, was shot dead by suspected militants in Chadoora town of Budgam on May 25. Her 10-year-old nephew had also sustained bullet injuries in the attack.
On May 27, the Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have killed two militants involved in Amreen Bhat’s killing.
On the other hand, Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit government employee, was killed on May 12 after suspected militants barged into his office in Budgam district. His killing had led to massive protests by Kashmiri Pandits in many parts of the Union Territory.
Since January, at least 20 targeted killings, including those of police officials, teachers and village heads, have been reported in Kashmir.
Of these, 13 were civilians – six were Hindus and seven were Kashmiri Muslims. Many of them have been shot point-blank in their homes or workplaces.