A Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant who was a key conspirator behind the car bombing that killed 40 CRPF troopers has been shot dead by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, officials said on Monday.
"Mudasir Khan alias Mohammad Bhai, the key conspirator in the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, has been eliminated along with his Pakistani accomplice Khalid," Lt Gen K.J.S. Dhillon of the city-headquartered Chinar Corps told the media.
Senior Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers were also present.
Mudasir Khan and Khalid were killed in a gunfight in Pinglish village in Tral area late on Sunday. The house where they had taken shelter was destroyed.
Lt Gen Dhillon said that in the last four weeks, security forces had killed 18 JeM terrorists -- 10 Pakistanis and eight locals.
"We have started aggressive operations to eliminate the JeM leadership in the Kashmir Valley," he said.
But the Corps Commander warned that terror launch pads were still intact across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan and that more militants were waiting to sneak in to the Valley.
CRPF Inspector General (Kashmir Sector) Zulfiqar Hassan said that the killing of Mudasir Khan and his accomplice was "very significant" as they had been involved in attacks on CRPF personnel.
He, however, added that the security forces' job had not been fully accomplished because some key players, including those who indoctrinated Mudasir Khan and provided explosives to him, were still at large.
Police said that Mudasir Khan hailed from Midoora village in Tral area. His body was identified by his family.
According to police, both Mudasir Khan and Khalid were affiliated to the Pakistan-based JeM and were wanted for a series of crimes including attacks on security establishments.
The JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 audacious suicide bombing of a CRPF convoy in Pulwama district which left 40 troopers dead -- the worst loss suffered by security forces on a single occasion since militancy erupted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.
The killings led a major crisis in India-Pakistan relations.
Raising the ceasefire violations along the LoC by the Pakistan Army, Lt Gen Dhillon said that the Pakistanis were targeting civilians.
"In Kamalkote (area of Uri), two days back, four civilians were injured in Pakistani shelling of civilian areas close to the LoC," he said.
The winding LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.