Police in Indian-administered Kashmir said Thursday they arrested a top Pakistani militant suspected to be an accomplice of the two gunmen, who launched an assault on Indian security forces camp in Srinagar Wednesday, killing five paramilitary soldiers.
Riyaz alias Abu Talib alias Talah was arrested from a residential building in Chattabal area of Srinagar, Thursday evening, in a joint police and paramilitary forces operation after receiving intelligence inputs about his presence, Indian daily DNA reported.
Unconfirmed police sources told DNA that Abu Talib is a Pakistani national.
India's Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in parliament Thursday that the two militants who opened fire on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp appeared to be of Pakistani origin, and the diaries recovered from them contained Pakistani phone numbers.
Earlier, India’s Union Home Secretary RK Singh said the militants were "not local but from across the border.”
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"Both the terrorists, who have been killed, appeared to be not local, but from across the border. And the first impression is that they are probably from Pakistan," he said at a news conference in New Delhi Wednesday, ANI news agency reported.
Pakistan rejected the accusation, calling it "counter-productive.”
"We feel that this trend of making irresponsible statements and knee-jerk reactions by senior Indian government functionaries has the potential of undermining the efforts made by both sides to normalize relations between the two countries," a statement issued by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said, as reported by the Press Trust of India.
Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and has made "immense sacrifices in its efforts against this menace,” the statement said.
Islamabad condemns "such actions of terrorism in the strongest possible terms" and calls on the Indian government to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident "before leveling such accusations which are counterproductive and serve no purpose,” it said.
Indian media reports said that Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the region’s most powerful militant groups, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police said the gunmen approached the CRPF camp by mingling with children playing cricket in a nearby field, hiding their weapons in cricket kit they were carrying, Reuters news agency reported. Once at the camp, they shot a sentry dead and then fired indiscriminately into the base.
Both the militants were killed in the gunfight that also wounded 15 CRPF soldiers and three civilians.