3 Jaish militants held in Kathua, terror bid foiled
Jammu & Kashmir Police on Thursday thwarted a major terrorist plot to disrupt peace in the Valley after arresting three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants and recovering arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, from a truck in the Jammu region’s Kathua district, police said.
It’s the first such plot security forces claim to have foiled since the Centre on August 5 and 6 nullified Article 370 of the Constitution that conferred special status on the state of Jammu & Kashmir and decided to bifurcate it into two Union Territories -- Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Acting on an intelligence input, a truck on its way to Kashmir from Punjab was checked and we found some arms and ammunition, including AK series rifles, from it,” said Shridhar Patil, Kathua’s senior superintendent of police (SSP).
He said four AK-56 assault rifles, two AK-47s, six magazines, 180 live rounds and ~11,000 in cash was recovered from the truck in Lakhanpur, known as the gateway to J&K. The arms were being smuggled to Kashmir for staging terrorist attacks, he said. The truck, which was intercepted at 8am, was owned by a man identified as Suhil Ahmed Latoo of Gulshanabad in Pulwama.
Three members of the proscribed JeM, a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, travelling in the truck were arrested, the officer said. They were identified as Ubaid-ul-Islam, son of Ghulam Mohammed Shah and Sabeel Ahmed Baba, son of Ghulam Hassan Baba, both residents of Aghlar Kandi, Rajpora, in Pulwama district; and Jahangir Ahmed Parray, son of Mohammed Abdul Parray of Pakehrpora, Chrar-e-Sharief, in Budgam district. They are between 25 years and 35 years old, said the SSP.
JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide car bombing that blew up a CRPF truck in Pulwama, killing 40 troopers, in the single deadliest attack in three decades of insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir. In reprisal, India carried out air strikes on a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan, on February 26. The three men were booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Ranbir Penal Code applicable in J&K, and the Arms Act at the Lakhanpur police state.
“We have taken seven days’ police remand of the three accused from district court, Kathua, and we have also contacted our counterparts in Pulwama and Budgam districts to get details of their previous involvement, if any, in terror activities,” Patil said. The police officer said the location from where the men had picked up the consignment of arms and ammunition was being ascertained.
“They are coining different stories and not telling us the truth as of now but we will get to the bottom of the matter. Obviously, the consignment had to be used by terrorists to disturb peace in the Kashmir valley,” he said.
The police suspect that the militants had infiltrated into India from across the international border via Bamyal in Punjab’s Pathankot with the help of civilian abettors in Kashmir. Bamyal has always been a favourite infiltration route for Pakistan-based terrorists. Punjab Police rushed a team from the state special operations cell to Kathua to join the investigation.