Swayam Prakash Pani has replaced Munir Khan as Inspector General of Police in the Kashmir range after S K Mishra, Director General (Prisons) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) was shunted out on Thursday, 8 February in the backdrop of an attack on the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital complex which left two policemen dead and led to a terrorist, Naveed Jhutt alias Abu Hanzulla, escaping from Srinagar’s Central Jail on 6 February, reported PTI. Mishra will now be replaced by Dilbag Singh according to a J&K government order.
Earlier in the day, Mukesh Kumar Kakar was appointed the new superintendent of Srinagar’s Central Jail following the sacking of Hilal Ahmad Rather as Superintendent, Mumbai Mirror reported.
Four people were arrested in connection with the attack, on 8 February, NDTV reported. Hilal Ahmad Rather, Superintendent, Central Jail Srinagar was suspended on 8 February and asked to report to the DG Prisons.
The Hizbul Mujahideen on 7 February claimed responsibility for the attack on the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital complex in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar.
New Details Revealed, Attackers Identified
Munir Khan, ADGP, J&K said in a press conference on 8 February that the police have arrested four of the five men involved in the attack and in freeing Naveed alias Abu Hanzulla. The arrest came, he added, after the investigation by a Special Investigation Team was formed.
Munir Khan, ADGP, J&KOf the five who carried out the attack, four men have been arrested. Shakil Ahmed Bhat and Tika Khan, both militants who are residents of Kakpora, Pulwama. The other two, Syed Tajamul and Mohammadd Shafi Wani, who are suspected overground workers. One militant named Hilal, who is from Pulwama, escaped with Naveed.
Photos of Hanzulla, reportedly taken after he escaped and reached Hizbul militants, were shared by Asia News Network.
While refusing to confirm details, ADGP Munir Khan did say that the photos proved that Hanzulla had met with Hizbul forces after his escape.
A video allegedly taken just moments ahead of the attack, from a CCTV camera outside the hospital, was shared by DNA news among other Twitter users.
How Did the Attack Occur?
A police team was taking six prisoners, including Jhutt, to the hospital for treatment on 5 February, DIG (Central Kashmir) Ghulam Hasan Bhat, who visited the scene of the attack said.
According to eyewitnesses who corroborate the statement, two militants opened fire as soon as Jhutt, along with five other prisoners and the police team, got off the vehicle outside the Out Patient Department of the 70-year-old hospital.
Head constable Mushtaq Ahmad and Babar Ahmad were killed in the attack.
Hizbul Claims Attack
According to The Indian Express, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo released an audio clip, where he is heard saying, “Jhutt had reached a safe destination.”
Police speculate that Jhutt could have reached south Kashmir, which is where Naikoo is based out off. Naikoo, in his audio clip, also says that he regrets the death of the two Kashmiri policemen, reported Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, an alleged LeT spokesperson released a WhatsApp message to the local media, where he stated that the escape operation was a coordinated effort between various outfits.
Who is Naveed Jhutt, the Escaped Prisoner?
The militant had obtained sophisticated training and was good at handling equipment like compasses, GPS, wireless sets, and mobile phones installed with Skype software, an official said.
According to CNN-News18, the LeT district commander was arrested in a joint operation by the police, Rashtriya Rifles, and the CRPF.
News18 also reported that Naveed, who was a close associate of the LeT Chiefs Abu Qasim and Abu Dujana, had been operating in the area for two years.
Forces also recovered an AK-47 rifle, two AK-47 magazines, and 60 AK-47 rounds when they arrested him, reported News18.
Jammu and Kashmir police wanted to shift Jhutt along with five other prisoners from Srinagar jail to other high security jails outside the Valley but were disallowed from doing so by the local courts.