Three of the arrested men are terrorists, the other is an overground worker of Lashkar-e-Taiba, who helped terrorists with logistics, the police said. A fifth, Hilal Ahmed, who is yet to be arrested, is involved in two cases. Shakeel Khan has 14 cases against him. Tikka Khan, who used to be an overground worker, is now an active terrorist.
The police said the team initially planned initially to free Naveed Jutt from the court in Pulwama. But when that plan fell through, they decided to try again. "They sent two terrorists to visit him regularly in jail... and hatched the conspiracy to break him out of the hospital," said Munir Khan, a senior officer of the state police.
Tikka Khan and Hilal Ahmed visited the jail and were in touch with Naveed Jutt on mobile phone. The conspiracy, the police said was detailed and thorough. On the day of the attack, the men came to Srinagar and took position outside the hospital. As Naveed Jutt, along with five other prisoners, walked into the Out Patients' Department for a routine medical check-up during the busiest hour of the day, his accomplices opened fire.
Hilal Ahmed even passed a gun to Naveed Jutt, who shot the accompanying policemen. One of them died on the spot, another succumbed to injuries later in the hospital.
Asked why the Lashkar made such an elaborate plan to free a terrorist who is apparently not too high on the group's pecking order, the officer said it could be because its top leadership in the Kashmir Valley has been completely eliminated.
In August, top Lashkar terrorist Abu Dujana was killed in a pre-dawn operation in Kashmir's Pulwama. In June, its top leader Junaid Matoo was killed in an encounter in Anantnag.
Naveed Jutt, a resident of Pakistan's Multan, has been involved in several killings. Seven of his victims are policemen. The terrorist, arrested in June 2014 from Kulgam, had high contacts within the group. He is known to be close to Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the masterminds of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and Abu Qasim, who headed the group in Kashmir Valley.
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