The 21-year-old Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Naveed Jatt was a longest surviving militant of the outfit operating in Kashmir since 2012.Jatt took the reins after the killing of LeT’s top commander Abu Ismail, and was habitual of uploading videos on social media in a bid to bring youth into the militancy fold.
A police officer, while terming Jatt’s killing a major success for forces, said Lashkar is “now headless and the morale of its local and foreign militants in Kashmir has now gone down”.
He said Naveed was an A++ category militant and had managed to give a slip to forces at least six times in major encounters.
According to police records, Naveed crossed over to this side from Pakistan in October 2012 and started operating first in northern Kashmir and then shifting his base to southern areas.
“In 2014, he was arrested and lodged in central jail Srinagar,” the officer said, adding that Naveed managed his escape in February this year in a dramatic way after he was brought to SMHS hospital for a checkup.Naveed secured his escape after killing two policemen who were accompanying him from the central jail.
“From that very moment, he was on the radar of all security agencies and his movement was being tracked. One thing about him was that he kept on changing his locations from Shopian to Pulwama and back,” the officer said. “He would stay with Hizbul Mujahideen militants most of the times. In fact, his escape was also facilitated by Hizbul Mujahideen militants from the SMHS hospital.”
After he escaped, the police said it took a series of steps to ensure the safety of prisoners and one such move involved shifting of all Pakistani prisoners from central jail Srinagar.The then director general of police S P Vaid also banned medical checkup of prisoners at SMHS hospital and instead issued directions that the prisoners in need of medical attention be brought to the police hospital in Srinagar under tight security cover.
A probe was also ordered into Jatt’s escape, while then director general of Prisons and the SSP central jail were immediately removed.Today, DGP Dilbag Singh, while addressing media, said Naveed was fond of recording videos and uploading them on social networking sites “with the motive of luring and attracting youth”.
“He was heading Lashkar after the killing of top commander of the outfit Abu Ismail in September 2017 in Aribagh area of Nowgam in Srinagar. At times Naveed would record a video during a snowfall or while roaming on roads in Anantnag. Sometimes he would be seen playing with weapons. But uploading videos on social media also helps us to track the militants,” the DGP said.