Three students with links to Kashmir terror group arrested in Jalandhar
On Wednesday, when a joint team of the Punjab Police and the special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police entered the hostel room of a third year student of civil engineering at the CT Institute of Engineering Management and Technology, in Shahpur on the outskirts of Jalandhar, they found something not usually found in such rooms: an AK-47 rifle.
The student, Zahid Gulzar, a resident of Rajpora in Srinagar, and two others in his room at the time, Mohammed Idriss Shah alias Nadeem and Yusuf Rafiq Bhatt, both residents of Pulwama, were arrested and all three are suspected to be linked to terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), according to Punjab director general of police Suresh Arora.
The joint team, which conducted a raid at the hostel early on Wednesday, also seized another weapon and explosives from the room. Bhatt is also a B Tech student at the same college and Shah is a BSc (medical lab science) student at the nearby St Soldier Management College, Arora added. According to him, the trio has been living in Jalandhar for the past two to three years and became involved in terror activities over the past year.
A case has been registered under sections 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war against the country), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code at the Sadar police station. Relevant sections of the arms act and explosives act have also been added, the DGP said.
Arora said the busting of the terror module and the seizure of weapons is indicative of efforts by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Agency (ISI) o expand the arc of militancy on India’s western border. Investigations have indicated AGH’s links with Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Jalandhar, an education hub, has at least 500 students from J&K at different campuses. Wednesday’s arrests have left Punjab Police worried. “There is a large number of Kashmiri students in the state and their links to terror groups is definitely a cause of concern,” said a senior police official.
On April 27, the police arrested two suspected “pro-Pakistan” Kashmiri hackers, from Jalandhar and Rajpura. Both were students and have been accused of hacking over 500 Indian websites.
Chairman of the CT Group, Charanjit Singh Channi, said the institute can’t check the bags of every student or an outsider coming to the college, citing privacy issues. “We can’t look at everyone with suspicion,” he added.
Recently, Gazi Ahmad Malik, a resident of Shopian, was detained by Punjab Police from Banur, Patiala where he was studying in a polytechnic. It is believed that Gazi is closely related to Adil Bashir Sheikh, a J & K police special police officer who fled with seven rifles from the residence of a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA in Srinagar and is suspected to have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen.