Srinagar, November 22
Two freshly minted Rs 2,000 notes were found on the two militants who were gunned down on Tuesday in an encounter by security forces in Bandipora district. A cache of arms and ammunition were recovered, in addition to Rs 15,000 in cash – two Rs 2,000 notes and the remaining in Rs 100 notes.
According to an Indian Army spokesperson in Srinagar, a joint operation was launched by the army and the local police based on specific information in Hajin in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The encounter ended after the two militants were gunned down and a combing operation was carried out.
Preliminary reports suggest the duo – both believed to be foreigners – belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group, police said, but their identity is yet to be ascertained.
Tuesday’s incident came a day after four armed and masked men entered a state-run bank in Malpora and made away with Rs 13 lakh in cash, mostly in scrapped Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes, according to reports.
Before that, three masked men robbed a bank of Rs 2.25 lakh in Kulgam district on October 25.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement on November 8 on scrapping of high denomination banknotes, he cited as one of the key targets of the denomination drive militants allegedly funded by counterfeit Indian currency from Pakistan. It is still unclear how the two militants came to possess the new banknotes, less than two weeks after they were launched.