Police on Friday put up posters of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants wanted for the killing of Kashmiri army officer Lt Ummer Fayaz in Shopian district even as the outfit sought to distance itself from the crime.
In the posters carrying photographs of gun-wielding local militants Ishfaq Ahmad Thoker, Gayas-ul-Islam and Abass Ahmad Bhat, the police offered reward for those giving information about them.
The posters read: “The above criminals who are involved in many terrorist acts including the murder of Umar Fayaz Parray s/o Fayaz Ahmad Parray R/o Sarsona Kulgam....
“Any person providing information regarding the above criminals will be suitably rewarded and his identity will be kept secret.”
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) S J M Gillani had on Thursday said that a Hizbul Mujahideen module was behind the killing and an INSAS rifle snatched from police personnel recently could have been used in the crime.
Defence authorities in Delhi had yesterday identified six militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), saying they were involved in the abduction and killing of the 22-year-old Army officer in Shopian district of Kashmir.
Lt Fayaz, on leave and unarmed, was abducted on Tuesday by three armed men from the house of a relative in Shopian where he was attending a wedding. His bullet-riddled body was found the next morning.
With the killing triggering an outrage in the Valley, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, a Kashmiri operating from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, issued a statement alleging that the “Indian agencies” were responsible for the killing.
“Indian agencies are involved in the killing of Lt Ummer Fayaz. They have hit two birds with one stone—killing an officer of a freedom-loving family and blaming the Mujahideen (militants) for it,” he alleged.
Yesterday, the IGP had said, “We have conducted preliminary investigation... it does point to (the involvement of) a module of Hizbul Mujahideen active in Shopian.”
Police has found two empty cartridges of an INSAS rifle at the place where Lt Fayaz was shot dead.
“We had two incidents of weapons snatching in south Kashmir recently. We have leads that the Kulgam weapon snatching was carried out by Lashkar militants while Hizb militants were involved in weapon snatching at Shopian court complex (on May 2). So it could be one of those weapons. We are looking at it,” Gillani had said.
Salahuddin, who has been operating from PoK for the last 26 years, said there was no place for groups lile Al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS) or Taliban in Jammu and Kashmir.
“This movement is purely local and indigenous. It has no international agenda. Al Qaeda, Daesh or Taliban have no involvement or role in Kashmir,” he said.