A Hizbul Mujahideen militant who had helped Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) ‘commander’ Naveed Jatt to escape from a Srinagar jail in February last year was killed in an encounter in Pulwama on Tuesday. One soldier also died and another sustained injuries in the gunfight.Hizb militant Hilal Ahmad Rather, a resident of Behgambagh-Kakapora in Pulwama, was encircled by a joint search team of the Army, police and CRPF in Ratnipora area. “As the midnight searches were going on, hiding militants fired upon security personnel. Rather was killed in retaliatory fire. The operation was called off in the morning after the body was retrieved,” said the police.The police said Rather hatched the conspiracy for LeT’s Jatt alias Hanzalla to escape from a Srinagar hospital on February 6 last year. Jatt was eventually killed in an operation on November 28 last year in Budgam’s Chadoora area. “Rather a long history of terror crime. He was the main conspirator and executor in helping Jatt to flee,” said Inspector General of Police S.P. Pani.The police said he was involved in attacks on security establishments. “Incriminating material, such as arms and ammunition, was recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation,” said Mr. Pani.An Army soldier, Havildar Baljeet, who sustained bullet wounds at the encounter site later died in a hospital. “Another injured soldier was admitted to a Srinagar hospital and is undergoing treatment,” said the police.Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, commander of the Chinar Corps, paid tributes to deceased Baljeet, 35. A resident of Karnal district in Haryana, the soldier joined the Army in 2002 and is survived by his wife, daughter and son.Meanwhile, internet was stopped in Pulwana and train services halted in view of street protests. Authorities said many youth took to the streets during the encounter. Hundreds of locals, including women, participated in the last rites of Rather. The funeral procession witnessed anti-India slogans.Teenage boy dies in blastThe police said a 15-year-old boy died when a blast occurred mysteriously in Anderhama area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara around 3:55 p.m.“We are ascertaining the facts regarding the incident,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shriram Ambarkar.In a separate incident, a loud explosion took place outside Srinagar’s Central Jail. The police said it’s investigating the nature of blast.
Controversial Bihar MLA Anant Singh, evading arrest in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, has said he will surrender in court in the next three-four days. In a video message, the independent MLA from Mokama, who has several serious cases pending against him, also said he will interact with journalists on his return from hiding. “I am not afraid of getting arrested. I have come to see my ailing friend and will surrender in the court in next three-four days. But first of all, I will go to my flat and interact with journalists,” the legislator said in the video clip sent to media houses on Sunday.Mr. Singh was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) after a police team raided his ancestral house at Ladma village in Patna district and seized an AK-47 rifle, a magazine, live cartridges and two hand grenades on Friday. Parliament had recently passed an amendment to the anti-terror law to give powers to the Centre to designate an individual as terrorist and seize his properties. The accused legislator claimed he had sought an appointment with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but failed. Contending that he had not visited his ancestral house in the past 14 years, Mr. Singh asked, “Why would I keep weapons like AK-47 in a house which is shared by my enemy?” Feud with cousinThe legislator has a running feud with his cousin Vivekanand Singh, a gangster.Police conducted a second raid at the 1 Mall Road, official residence of Mr. Singh in Patna on Saturday but he was not present, Superintendent of Police Kantesh Kumar Mishra said. His accomplice Chhotan Singh was, however, apprehended from there.A sword and a mobile phone were also seized from the legislator’s official residence.