Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba is orchestrating the ongoing violence in Kashmir that has claimed nearly 60 lives, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said, based on the confessional video of a captured extremist.
The agency’s statement came on a day the government agreed to an all-party meeting to discuss how to end weeks of violent unrest in the Valley but said the violence was sponsored from across the border.
Sanjeev Singh, inspector general of NIA, told reporters on Wednesday that captured militant Bahadur Ali had told agencies that the LeT -- with the “help of Pakistani forces deployed on the border” – pushed heavily armed men into India through the summer to mix with local people, create disturbance, and attack security forces.
Thousands have been killed -- most of them in police firing – following street unrest in Kashmir to protest against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces last month. The region, where a separatist campaign broke out in 1989, has been under curfew for 33 days.
The video shows 21-year-old Bahadur Ali, a resident of Raiwind in Lahore, spilling beans about LeT’s role in the disturbances. He is also shown speaking about the LeT’s sophisticated communication network and assistance rendered to it by the Pakistani army.
Ali, who was arrested on July 25 this year from Yahama village in Handwara in North Kashmir, was in one of the groups allegedly instructed to take advantage of the current situation and throw grenades at the security forces by mixing with the protesters.
“During communications with Ali, Alpha-3 (a communication centre in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir) told that the LeT cadres had been successful in fuelling large-scale agitation in Kashmir after Eid subsequent to the death of Burhan Wani.
“Further investigation is continuing on the disclosure of Bahadur Ali regarding his role in the present unrest in Kashmir,” Singh said.
The anti-terror probe agency also said it is gathering further evidence regarding the role of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba in the ongoing turbulence in the Valley.
Hours before this declaration, home minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that the current unrest in the Kashmir Valley was “sponsored” by Pakistan.
“Whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan sponsored,” Rajnath said, while responding to a day-long debate on the situation in the valley in Rajya Sabha.
“When I visited Srinagar and Anantnag on July 23 and 24, I met about 30 delegations from different walks of life and discussed the Kashmir issue,” he said.
He also said, if talks with Pakistan happen, “it will be about Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”.
(With agency inputs)