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NIA registers Uri attack case, will collect samples of dead Jaish militants

india Updated: Sep 20, 2016 14:28 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Uri attack

Soldiers guard the Uri army base that was attacked by militants in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday.(PTI Photo)

The National Investigation Agency registered a case on Tuesday over an attack in Kashmir that left 18 soldiers dead, and a probe team of the agency will soon visit the site of the assault to collect evidence.

The NIA team will also collect DNA samples of four Jaish-e-Mohammad militants involved in the Uri attack.

The assault, in which four gunmen burst into a brigade headquarters in the town of Uri before dawn on Sunday, was among the deadliest in Kashmir.

India has said the assault bore the hallmarks of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Led by Islamist hardliner Maulana Masood Azhar from Pakistan’s Punjab province, the JeM was blamed for the January air base raid in Pathankot and a 2001 attack on Parliament.

India moved on Monday to diplomatically isolate Pakistan as part of retaliation to the militant attack.

After a two-hour meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some of his top ministers decided against any “knee-jerk reaction” and, instead, backed moves to present evidence of Pakistan’s “complicity” at global fora.

The head of military operations of the Indian army, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said India had the desired capability to respond, without elaborating. “We reserve the right to respond to any act of the adversary at a time and place of our own choosing,” Singh told reporters.

Islamabad made no offer of cooperation to investigate the Uri attack, as was done by it in the aftermath of a similar deadly raid on an air base in Punjab in January. The only civilian Pakistani leader to respond – foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz – did not even condemn the attack.

Pakistan’s army chief Raheel Sharif hit out at India’s “hostile narrative”, saying his country was “fully prepared to respond to entire spectrum of direct and indirect threat”.

As calls grew for a counter-strike against Pakistan and militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which India believes orchestrated the attack, New Delhi also decided to push for more “terror elements” based there to be brought under UN sanctions.

Foreign minister Swaraj will also bring up the attack at United Nations general assembly later next week.

Although New Delhi’s options to hit back at nuclear-armed Pakistan appeared limited, government sources said a “strong message” to Pakistan could include surgical strikes against “inimical assets” along their de-facto border.