It has taken the National Investigation Agency (NIA) almost six months to close the case against two Pakistani school boys whom the army had claimed to be the guides of militants involved in last September’s Uri attack .
Immediately after their arrest, the boys had been cleared of all charges by the local police. The investigative agencies, however, kept claiming that the teens were terrorists.
HT reported on September 23 that the army had found two minors from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in Uri’s Gawathan area who had entered the Indian territory inadvertently fearing reprimand from the family of a girl they had assaulted.
Sources had told HT that Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Chudhary, both aged 16, from Muzaffarabad, were caught by soldiers of the J&K Light Infantry and the BSF.
The teenagers, students of Shaheen Model School, ran away from their village after being accused of harassing a local girl.
Faisal had told his interrogators that he was son of a carpenter from Potha Jhandgran in Muzaffarabad district while Ahsan’s said his father worked as a cook in Saudi Arabia.
Official sources had said the boys were to be handed over to the local police and repatriated to Pakistan in a few days.
On September 24 , 2016, however, the army changed its stand and claimed to have apprehended two PoK nationals “working for (the) Jaish-e-Mohammad” terror outfit and “acting as guides for infiltrating groups along the LoC in the Uri sector”.
The spokesperson had claimed the agencies were corroborating information given by the two boys.
“The boys kept saying they had entered India by mistake but they were tortured so much. After that, they started making all kinds of stories to save themselves,’’ said a top official. “It was just to show the nation that headway was made in the Uri attack ,’’ he added.