aa: Indian police said Monday the key conspirator of a suicide bombing that killed at least 40 troops last month had been killed in a shootout.
Mudasir Ahmad Khan was shot dead in the Tral area of southern Kashmir along with another militant.
“The investigation so far conducted has revealed that Mudasir was one of the key conspirators of the recent Pulwama National Highway attack,” Jammu and Kashmir Police said in a statement.
Both militants were affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), a group which claimed responsibility for the attack, the statement added.
The other slain militant could be a Pakistani militant named Khalid, the statement went on to say.
India accuses Pakistan of providing a sanctuary to the JEM, which has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have flared in the aftermath of the bombing on Feb. 14 which culminated with both sides claiming to have downed each other’s warplanes.
Indian security forces have launched a special operation against the JEM with at least 10 militants killed in the last month, according to police records.
Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Source: Published by aa