In a daring attack in Srinagar hospital, militants kill 2 policemen; detainee ultra flees

The one who escaped belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and was arrested in south Kashmir.

A 22-year-old Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant escaped in dramatic style from the custody of jail officials after his associates opened fire on his escorts, when he was brought to a Srinagar hospital for a check-up on Tuesday. He was among a group of six prisoners.

Policemen Babur Ahmad Khan and Mushtaq Ahmad guarding the LeT operative were killed.

J&K Director General of Police S.P. Vaid told Kashmir Post that recently six Pakistani prisoners were ordered to be moved from Srinagar Central Jail to Jammu but the accused, Mohammed Naveed Jhutt alias Abu Hunzala, got a stay order from a city court on December 26.

Mr. Vaid said Jhutt had access to “communication equipment” in Srinagar and the escape was “planned and arranged.”

He said they had inputs of Pakistani prisoners “planning attacks and conspiracy” from the jail and that is why police proposed segregating the Pakistani prisoners and moving them to the Jammu jail where they could be “controlled better.”

Jhutt, a resident of Multan in Pakistan was arrested in 2014 in Anantnag in a case of “attempt to murder and robbery.” At the time of his arrest, he was the district commander of LeT in Shopian. He was involved in the killings of three security personnel in South Kashmir and for attacks on police pickets.

A Class V dropout, he was pushed into the Kashmir Valley from across the border in Kupwara in North Kashmir.

A senior Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police official said three policemen escorted Jhutt to the crowded Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital.

“Two persons in phirans (woollen gowns) pulled out a weapon and opened fire. Khan was hit in the chest and he collapsed. Ahmad was injured and he died of his wounds later in the day,” said the official. Jhutt ran out of the hospital with his two associates and fled on motorcycles.

On November 23, 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court passed an order that Jhutt should be lodged in a jail preferably in Srinagar. The J&K Bar Association had moved a petition on his behalf.

‘Hub of crime’
“The Pakistani prisoners plot attacks from the Srinagar jail that has become a hub of all kinds of criminal activities. When the J&K police insisted that he be shifted to the Jammu jail, he moved a petition from a city court and he got a stay on the order of the DG Prisons on December 26, 2017. The court said consent may not be given without hearing the counsel of the accused,” a J&K police official said.

Deputy Inspector General (Central Kashmir) Ghulam Hasan Bhat, who visited the scene of the escape said a red alert had been sounded in the city.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing of the two policemen and expressed her grief. “Pained to hear that two more brave policemen lost their lives in an attack in Srinagar today. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones,” Ms. Mehbooba said on Twitter.