Lashkar men produced before mediapersons
Army, on Wednesday, arrested two Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba during a special operation in Rajwar forests of northern Kupwara district. Identified as Mohammad Yasin, resident of Lahore and Akhtar-ul-Islam, resident of Sialkot, the two were part of seven-member Lashkar group, who had crossed to this side of the line of control, last month. Both the arrested Lashkar cadres were presented before the mediapersons at Kilo Force headquarters in Srinagar.
The arrested terrorists said that they, along with four other associates, began their trek towards the line of control on April 16 and, with the help of a guide, crossed the LOC on April 20. They said that they infiltrated from Athmuqam point in Nowgam sector.
Major General Rajinder Singh, GOC Kilo Force, said that their arrest has proved that the infiltration was on and training camps existed in POK. He said Army troops intercepted the group during a regular patrol, while they were crossing Kahmil Nala. "On being challenged, the terrorists fired and fled. One terrorist from the group was killed during the encounter while the rest managed to escape," he said.
GOC said two of the terrorists slipped and fell in the Kahmil Nala and body of one of these terrorists was recovered from Kahmil Nala near village Chaukibal on 23 April. "The body of the other terrorist was recovered from the same Nala near Tumna village on May 4, 2007," he said. The Army commander said that the remaining three Lashkar men moved towards Rajwar area where they were to link up with their associates from LeT outfit. En route they were encountered by troops of Rashtriya Rifles. "One of the terrorists was killed during this encounter, and the other two (now apprehended) terrorists managed to escape," he said.
GOC said that they remained hidden deep inside the forest for 14 days, from 25 April to 08 May 2007, and were finally trapped in a well-planned operation on May 9, 2007. "This operation was launched with inputs from our own people in the area, cooperation from the civil administration and police officials including other agencies working harmoniously in a cordial environment," he said.
The arrested terrorists said that they were forced to undertake arms training in Muzaffarabad and cross the LOC. "While I was working in Lahore some people approached me and put pressure on me to undergo arms training," said Yasin. "Hamien bataya gaya ki Kashmir ja kar jihad karna hai" (we were told to perform Jihad in Kashmir). "We were not willing but they forced us," he added. Akhtar said that they got training at Aksa camp in Muzaffarabad for two months.
In a separate incident one Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Bilal Ahmed Mir, after escaping from the site of encounter in Dardehare, North of Kralpura, surrendered before 14 GRENADIERS unit of Army in Lunawari on Wednesday. A defence spokesperson said that in a day- long encounter with terrorists 17 DOGRA had eliminated four terrorists. Fifth terrorist Bilal Ahmed Mir escaped from the encounter and surrendered to nearby 14 GRENADIERS. He handed over his weapon AK rifles, ammunition and other stores to Army jawans. While speaking to the media, Bilal Ahmed Mir confessed that he was forcibly sent to POK in 2003 for training. He surrendered because he didn't want to continue violence, he accepted.