J&K Police accept security lapses led to terrorist’s escape

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The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday said the audacious attack and subsequent escape of a Pakistani terrorist from a Srinagar hospital two days back was a well planned and executed conspiracy that threw open chinks in the security setup.

Director General of Police (DGP) S.P.Vaid said the militant attack and subsequent escape of Naveed Jat alias Abu Hunzullah on February 6 from the SMHS hospital was not possible without connivance at the Srinagar Central Jail. “An SIT headed by a Superintendent of Police is looking into this incident. I believe a magisterial probe is also being ordered to ascertain all that led to the attack and the subsequent escape,” Vaid said. Asked why such a high value catch had been lodged in the Srinagar prison, and not outside the Kashmir Valley, as most other such detainees were, Vaid said Hunzullah had been shifted to Srinagar following a court order.

Gaping holes in the security setup came to light following Tuesday’s escape of Hunzullah from the Out Patients Department (OPD) of Karan Nagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, in which two policemen were also killed. Several questions have been raised following the escape in broad daylight: Why were only two policemen escorting the terrorist when he was taken to the hospital along with other detainees for a medical check up?  Was the standard operating procedure (SOP) prescribed for such visits strictly followed? Unless the exact movement, time and route was known to the militants planning the attack, could such a successful escape be executed?

More important than anything else, unless exact details were leaked to the militants from the Srinagar Central Jail, the attack would not have taken place. As authorities battle answers to these embarrassing questions, intelligence reports here suggest that the escape was planned by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in tandem with the Hizbul outfit. An all-out effort has been launched by the security forces to hunt down the escaped terrorist, who has already joined back the militant ranks if a video clip released by Riyaz Naikoo, a top ranking militant commander active in south Kashmir is to be believed.

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