Srinagar, May 23 (IANS): Three LeT militants and their associate were on Monday arrested for the murder of a sarpanch in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district last month, police said.
Manzoor Ahmad Bangoo, the sarpanch of Goshbugh village in Pattan tehsil of Baramulla, was killed by militants on April 15.
"During investigation in the case of killing of sarpanch of Goshbugh, Manzoor Ahmad Bangoo, three suspects, namely Noor Mohammad Yatoo, Mohammad Rafiq Parray, and Ashiq Hussain Parray, all residents of Goshbugh Pattan, were arrested after receiving information from reliable sources about their involvement in militancy-related activities," a police official said.
"The arrested persons revealed that they were in contact with Mohammad Afzal Lone, an OGW of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit, presently in judicial custody.
"Lone had directed his close aide Yatoo to motivate two persons from his area to join the militant ranks and he, in turn, contacted Mohammad Rafiq Parray and Ashiq Hussain Parray, both residents of Goshbugh, and motivated them to join militant ranks," the official said.
Yatoo had directed the duo, along with his brother-in-law Mehraj-ud-din Dar, to meet Lone personally.
"All the three met Lone who motivated them and set targets. He also gave different assignments to them.
"After few days, Lone sent arms and ammunition (two pistols, two hand grenades and two magazines with live bullets) to Yatoo through Dar for Rafiq Parray and Ashiq Parray with the directions to kill political affiliated persons, especially sarpanches, of the Pattan area," police said.
Police said Lone and his other three associates were arrested in connection with Palhalan grenade blast case.
"Their arrest delayed the actions of the three and they remained dormant until two local militants, namely Umer Lone and Gulzar Ganie of Wussan Pattan, who had recently infiltrated back from across the LoC after doing training of arms and ammunition, approached the trio and asked them about the arms and ammunition and the tasks given.
"They told them to complete the given assignments of killing the sarpanches."
According to the police, the conspirators set the target and carried recee of the aarpanch Bangoo (now deceased) and set a particular date for his killing.
"On that particular day, Ashiq Parray talked to Umer Lone through Facebook Messenger and briefed him about the plan which the militants executed on April 15 by killing the sarpanch in the orchards of Chanderhama Pattan.
"Upon further interrogation, Yatoo revealed that he gave the arms and ammunition to Lone... however more arms and few live rounds are still with him which are in a sealed box in his house.
Police said adding that so far, three pistols, two grenades, three magazines, and 32 bullets have been recovered in this case.