Held Hizbul man planned major attack ahead of Republic Day, says intel
The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant arrested along with a Jammu and Kashmir police officer this month was planning to deliver explosives in Pulwama for major attacks his group was planning to launch ahead of the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, according to a Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) input shared with the security agencies last week.
Naveed Babu, the HM’s operations chief for south and central Kashmir, was arrested while he was travelling to Jammu with deputy police superintendent Davinder Singh and two others on January 11.
According to an input, Babu was to deliver the explosives to his HM associates, who were likely to carry out attacks in Zadoora and also plant an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the Niwa-Pakherpora road near Pulwama. The January 15 DIA input, a copy of which HT has accessed, calls Babu the “master terror recruiter” and an “IED expert”.
A car bomb attack on a paramilitary convoy in Pulwama last year left 40 troopers dead and prompted India to launch an air strike on a terror camp in Pakistan.
Babu is HM’s second-in-command after Riyaz Nikoo. He is accused of involvement in a spate of civilian killings last year and also those of police officers and snatching of weapons from security forces.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing Singh’s links with Babu and other terror operators in the Valley, on Wednesday raided Singh’s residence in Srinagar. It is scrutinising the documents recovered from Singh. His staff will also be questioned about the people who would visit Singh’s at his residence and office, according to the officials aware of the matter.
An officer said records and CCTV footage from the Srinagar airport, where Singh was last posted with the anti-hijacking unit, will also be checked to see if any unauthorised people were given entry.
Another officer added that inquiries were being done in Srinagar, Qazigund and Kulgam districts. Singh’s call records and emails were also being checked to find whether any sensitive information had been shared with militants.
The second officer cited above said they will also examine Singh’s role in other cases pertaining to the capture of militant and over-ground workers over the last few years in districts where he was posted.
The Jammu and Kashmir police have dismissed Singh and stripped him of a medal for gallantry. They have said that they will also investigate Singh’s links with 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Guru was convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case and was hanged to death on February 3, 2013. In a letter to the court, Guru had alleged that on the instructions of Singh, he had transported one of the terrorists killed in the attack to Delhi.