Police on Saturday said they have arrested six persons in connection with the March 29 attack on municipal councillors in Sopore.
“Multiple CASOs were launched by Sopore police along with other security forces at suspected locations Dangerpora, Brath Kalan, Sidiq Colony Sopore, Model Town, Batpora. Various suspects were picked up for questioning and during questioning one suspect OGW namely Ashiq Ahmad Pandith of Dangerpora revealed that the militants namely Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz along with Asrar had stayed at his residence from 25-03-2021 to 28-03-2021 and had planned the whole attack,” police said in a statement.
“Further during questioning the name of another suspect namely Junaid Ah Shusha of Model Town Sopore came to fore. He disclosed that he came in contact with Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz in the month of November 2020 at the residence of his cousin, Umair Ashiq in Model Town Sopore. Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz along with his two foreign militants @ Ahmad and @ Abu Sariya stayed for the night on instructions of Sayeed Imran, an OGW of LeT outfit. Junaid Ahmad Shusha and Umair Ashiq were convinced by Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz to work for LeT and they were introduced to Sajid Ali POK handler of LeT. Upon Imran disclosure, Umair Ashiq and Sayeed Imran were picked up and confessed that both of them were indeed working for proscribed outfit LeT and were providing logistic support to banned organisation to strengthen their hold/network in main town Sopore and further revealed that they have conducted the recce of Lone Complex Sopore on the directions of @ Maaz and Sajid. Upon revelations of these suspects, another hardcore OGW Shakir Yousuf Bhat R/O Batpora was apprehended who further revealed that he is cousin of Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz and prior to his joining they were working together as mechanic in local workshop at Sopore and was in touch with him since then. He said that he used to ferry Mudasir & his associates from Sopore to other places (Wagoora, Nowpora Kerri Baramulla, Sahipora, Pandithpora, Tulwari Handwara, Hajin Bandipora).”
“To execute the militant action which Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz along with his foreign associate had hatched at the residence of his maternal cousin Ashiq Ah Pandith during their stay from (25 to 28 March ) on the directions of main handler from across namely Sajid Ali, Maaz activated his OGW network, including Junaid Shusha,Umair Ashiq and Syed Imran. On his directions Umair recceed the site and sent back his feedback. Then again on 28th, on some pretext Ashiq Pandith also came at the complex for recce. In the late evening of 28th March 2021, Shakir along with his friend Feroz Ahmed Bhat R/O Batpora Sopore went to Dangerpora to bring Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz and his foreign terrorist to Batpora, and stayed at the residence of Feroz Ahmad Bhat for the night. From their stay at Feroz’s home they again communicated with other OGW’s about conducting physical recce. He directed Junaid ah Shusha and Syed Imran of Model Town Sopore to remain present near the Municipal office the next day (29th March from 9.00 Hrs) On the next day Shakir took Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz & Ft Asrar on his bike following interiors roads, in order to avoid security check points. They reached the place of the occurrence where his other associates /OGWs were waiting for them as per their prior (last night) directions. Before entering the complex Mudasir Pandith @ Maaz asked the duo (Junaid & Imran ) to go inside and to get the latest information regarding the presence of police personnel and counsellors. At about 12.48 hrs they went inside the complex and indiscriminately opened fire upon police and counsellors resulting on spot death of counsellors Riyaz Ahamd Pir & SPO Shafat Ahmad and seriously injuring counsellor Shamus Din Pir who later succumbed to his injuries. They then boarded Shakir’s bike and escaped into Syedpora orchards using interior roads. Sopore police along with the sister agencies are working tirelessly to nab/eliminate the dreaded terrorists,” the police statement said.