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  India   Crime  02 May 2017  J&K: Gunmen loot Rs. 65,000 from Kulgam bank

J&K: Gunmen loot Rs. 65,000 from Kulgam bank

Published : May 2, 2017, 3:51 pm IST
Updated : May 2, 2017, 7:35 pm IST

Two masked gunmen barged inside the Ellaquai Dehati Bank and looted Rs 65,000 from the bank.

Security personnel standing guard outside a bank in Kashmir. (Photo: File)
 Security personnel standing guard outside a bank in Kashmir. (Photo: File)

Srinagar: A day after militants shot dead five policemen and two bank employees as they attacked a cash van, gunmen on Tuesday looted Rs 65,000 from a bank in a remote village of Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Kulgam district.

Police said that two masked men barged into the local branch of Ellaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) in Kader, Yaripora village of Kulgam and looted the cash at gunpoint.

The EDB is a joint venture of Government of India, the J&K government and the State Bank of India, set up in 1976 for the development of agriculture sector and rural economy in the state.

Reports said that the robbers brandishing pistols took the bank staff and customers hostage and then searched cash cabins and lockers but could find only Rs 65,850. They fled with the cash before the police and members of its counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) could reach the spot.

On Monday, five J&K policemen and two security guards of J&K Bank were killed when militants attacked a cash van in Kulgam’s Pombai village, not very far from where the EDB was looted on Tuesday.

Hizb-ul-Mujahedin outfit had owned responsibility but said that the CRPF and not its cadres killed the bank employees. The cash van was heading towards Anantnag town after unloading cash at the bank's Nehama branch when the militants intercepted it and then opened indiscriminate fire, resulting into the death of seven persons on board.

The assailants, who had suddenly appeared from a roadside apple orchard took the service weapons of the policeman including four INSAS rifles and one AK 47 Rifle with them after committing the crime, the police officials had said.

Though the suspected militants have looted cash from different branches of mainly Jammu and Kashmir Bank in the Valley on several occasions in the past, it was for the first time that the bank employees or the policemen escorting them in a cash van were targeted. The officials said that the incidence of looting banks at gunpoint increased after Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced the demonetisation in November last year “which suggests the militants are facing cash shortage”. However, the Hizb's ‘Operational’ spokesman Burhan-ud-Din had claimed "we have enough cash" and that the cash van was attacked only to inflict casualties on police and loot weapons.

The killing of policemen and bank employees is cold blood has been widely condemned across Jammu and Kashmir and beyond. Many people in the Valley also took to the social networking sites to voice their anger and disapproval of the gory act and to sympathise with the victims' families.

Tags: ellaquai dehati bank, armed robbery, kashmir unrest, kulgam
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir