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Varanasi blasts mastermind gunned down

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: May 09, 2006 15:29 IST
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Kashmir police on Tuesday claimed to have gunned down the main accused in the Varanasi serial blasts of March 7, in which 14 people were killed and over 50 injured.

Mohammad Zubair, a resident of Bhagpat in Uttar Pradesh was killed in village Haran Chowgal in the north Kashmir border district of Kupwara in a fierce gun battle late Monday night.

Police said Zubair was the main organiser and conspirator of the March 7 blasts in Varanasi's Sankatmochan temple and Cantonment Railway station that killed 20 people and left scores injured.

"Acting on a specific tip off provided by the Uttar Pradesh police, we carried out a joint operation with the army in Haran Chowgal village of Kupwara district, 80 kilometres from Srinagar late Monday night. In the subsequent gun battle, one Mohammad Zubair, a resident of Bhagpat (UP) was killed. Zubair, was a terrorist of the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihadul Islami. He was the main organizer and conspirator of the March 7 Varanasi blasts this year," Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) K Rajendra told media persons in Srinagar.

"Zubair had come to the Valley immediately after the Varanasi blasts to hide. The tip off about the presence of the top militant had also come from the central intelligence agencies," he added.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar