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2-min read

Hizbul Militant, Suspect Behind Banihal Car Explosion Near CRPF Convoy, Arrested

The suspected attacker, Owais Malik, was a BBA student at Iqbal College in Srinagar and had joined Jaish-e-Mohammad last year, but later shifted to Hizbul Mujahideen.

Aakash Hassan | News18.com@Aakashhassan

Updated:April 1, 2019, 4:26 PM IST
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Hizbul Militant, Suspect Behind Banihal Car Explosion Near CRPF Convoy, Arrested
A CRPF vehicle had suffered slight damage when a private car went up in flames after an explosion at Tethar village.
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Srinagar: A Hizbul Mujahideen militant Owais Malik, suspected to be behind Saturday’s car blast near Banihal, was arrested on Monday.

On Saturday, a private car plying on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, coming from the Kashmir side, caught fire and exploded near a CRPF convoy causing slight damage to a CRPF bus in the rear side.

The incident took place at 10.30am near Tethar village in Banihal, about 12km south of Srinagar and 165km from Jammu. There was no report of any injury in the incident.

Sources in the Jammu and Kashmir Police said the driver of the car had jumped out of the burning car and fled towards a hamlet.

The sources said militants were planning to carry out an offensive on the lines of the February-14 attack in Pulwama which claimed the lives of at least 40 CRPF jawans. It turned out to be the most fatal militant strike in the Valley’s history.

The suspected attacker, Malik, was a BBA student at Iqbal College in Srinagar and had joined Jaish-e-Mohammad last year, but later shifted to Hizbul Mujahideen. Malik is from the Arwani Bijbehara area of south Kashmir.

He was arrested alongside a road, sources said. Two LPG cylinders (one of them sealed), a detonator, a jerrycan filled with petrol, gelatin sticks, urea and sulphur were recovered from Malik, police said.

“This is what is needed for an IED blast,” said a police officer, adding that an investigation is on in the case.

Police said a letter was also recovered from the scene. The purported letter identified the driver as a Hizbul operative, who wrote about his intention to carry out a Pulwama-like attack.

Soon after the blast on Saturday, teams of forensic experts and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reached the spot for a thorough inspection.

In the purported note, the attacker is also said to have written about Rizwan Assad Pandith, the school principal who was allegedly killed in police custody last month.

“I want to know from the sensible Indian people why Rizwan Assad Pandith was martyred. He had neither touched a gun nor gone across the border. He was an innocent Kashmiri youth,” read the note, adding, “This is why I preferred death to life and I hold it as my good luck. A Muslim should live like Sultan Saladin Ayyubi (the 12th-century Muslim military expedition hero who defeated Crusaders in a series of wars). A dignified life of a few years is better than a jackal’s life of hundred years.”

“This clearly appears to be a failed car bomb attack,” a top police officer told News18.
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