New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a major breakthrough for the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat -- the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist who car was used in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack -- was shot dead during an encounter in the Anantnag district on Tuesday.

Bhat, along with one of his associates, was killed killed in a gunfight in Marhama area of Anantnag district.

Giving details about the encounter, the state police said: "On a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by security forces at Marhama in Bijbehara area of District Anantnag. As search operation was going on, hiding terrorists fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated."

"One Army Jawan Anil Jaswal sustained gunshot injuries and attained martyrdom at hospital. Two terrorists were killed; their bodies were retrieved. Terrorists have been identified as Sajad Ahmad Bhat and Tawseef Ahmad Bhat of Jaish-e-Mohammed.

"Sajad was wanted in Lethpora blast in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred earlier this year. As per the material evidence collected during the course of investigation it was learnt that vehicle used for carrying out the blast in Lethpora was owned by Sajad," the statement added.

Following the suicide attack on February 14 which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans, the National Investigation Agency had identified the Maruti Eeco minivan used in the attack and also its owner as Sajjad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in south Kashmir.

17-year-old Sajjad had gone missing on February 25, eleven days after the dastardly attack. Soon after, he reportedly joined Jaish-e-Mohammed and his photograph also appeared on social media where he was seen holding weapons.

He was given the code name ‘Afzal Guru’ and had joined a fidayeen squad.

On Tuesday morning, the security forces launched a search and cordon operation in Bijbehara area of Marahama village in Anantnag district -- the area from where Bhat hails from.

 

The militants, who were hiding in the area, opened fire at the forces, leaving two soldiers injured. One soldier later succumbed to his injuries.

Piecing together remnants of the vehicle recovered from the scene of the blast, the NIA investigators, with the support of forensic and automobile experts, identified the vehicle as a Maruti Eeco having chassis number MA3ERLF1SOO183735 and engine number G12BN164140.

The vehicle was sold to Mohammed Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Heaven Colony in Anantnag in 2011, and subsequently it changed hands seven times and finally reached Sajjad Bhat, a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom, Shopian.

The vehicle was purchased by Sajjad Bhat on February 4.

Raids were conducted by a team of NIA and police at his house February 23 but Sajjad was not present. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta