Police foil terror plan to attack Jammu on Pulwama anniversary; TRF chief among many held

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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday claimed to have arrested a nursing student of a Chandigarh based college, chief of the recently floated “The Resistance Front’’ (TRF) among over half a dozen people and seized six pistols and 16 IEds since Friday last and foiled a major terror plan to carry out attacks in Jammu on the second anniversary of 2019 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

These arrests and seizures have come a week after the apprehension of Lashkar-e-Mustafa chief Hidyatullah Malik in Jammu who, according to Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh, had even conducted reece of the office of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and sent the video film to his handlers in Pakistan. Hidayatullah’s four associates including his wife Seeba, an LLM student of Kashmir University have also been arrested.

Giving details at a press conference here, Inspector General of Police for Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh, said that Special Operation Group of J&K Police on Saturday night apprehended an Al Badr activist Suhail Bashir Shah, son of Bashir Ahmad Shah of Newa Pulwama, while moving in the B.C. Road here under suspicious circumstances and seized an IED weighing around 7 kg from his bag. He had come here from Chandigarh to carry out the attack on February 14 which happened to be the second anniversary of 2019 Pulwama terror attack.   

Suhail, who had been a nursing student of a college in Chandiharh, was tasked by his Pakistan based handlers to place the IED at any of the busy Ragunath temple, Bus Stand, Railway Station Jammu, or Lakhdata Bazar. Pointing out that the IED had not been activated, he said the apprehension was the result of heightened vigil by police at all important locations and nakas for the past few days following intelligence inputs that terrorists were planning to strike in Jammu on the second anniversary of 2019 Pulwama terror attack.

After having placed the IED at any of these four places, Suhail had to proceed to Srinagar by air where he was supposed to be received by a “high ranking’’ over ground worker (OGW) Ather Shakeel Khan alias Ubaid Ullah of Newa, Pulwama, IGP said. Thereafter, he would have become an active member of the Al Badr.

Another Kashmiri boy Qazi Wasim alias Qazi, who had been studying in Chandigarh and was aware of this terror plan, has also been apprehended from there, IGP said, adding that one more terror associate Abid Nabi alias Sehran of Budgam has also been arrested from Srinagar.

While police in Jammu have averted a major tragedy with these arrests and recovery of IED which was powerful enough to cause massive damage to property and human lives, he said that police on Saturday night also seized six pistols and 15 “small IEDs’’ from border Ramgarh area in Samba district. The matter is under investigation and “we are working on its backward and forward linkages’’.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh, said that on the intervening night of February 12-13, police also arrested chief of the recently floated TRF, Zahoor Rather alias Khalid alias Sahil, in Jammu who had been responsible for the killing of three BJP activists in Kulgam and a police personnel in Kokernag. Pointing out that no one had earlier suspected his involvement in terror activities in view of his being a surrendered militant, he said that investigations about his involvement in other terror related activities are in progress.

Pointing out that he was a “quite old and trained militant’’ who had been with Hizbul Mujahideen in 2002 and he had gone to Pakistan for arms training. When he returned, he had brought with him, five foreign terrorists via Line of Control in Rajouri district.

He remained active for five years in Kashmir and later surrendered in 2006. However, he became active again in 2019. UT Police chief said, adding that his Pakistani handlers knew his potential and gave him the command of new terror outfit TRF.

Zahoor Rather had created a huge network in Kashmir and of them, eight have been identified so far DGP said, adding that some people have been apprehended also, he said.  The level at which he had been operating, his involvement in many more terror activities is likely to come to the fore, DGP added.

Pointing out that TRF was an off-shoot of Lashkar-e-Toiba which was floated by terror handlers in Pakistan to give terrorist activities an indigenous name, UT Police chief said that the police in Jammu had also arrested the chief of recently floated Lashkar-e-Mustafa, Hidayatullah Malik. LeM too had been floated by Jaish-e-Mohammad handlers in Pakistan to give terror an indigenous look in Kashmir, DGP said that he had been involved in various terror activities in South Kashmir.

On instructions of his Pakistan handler who is known as “Doctor’’ , he had gone to Delhi, done reece of the office of NSA Ajit Doval and sent the video to him  in Pakistan, DGP said, adding that Jaish-e-Mohammad, apart from creating terror network in Jammu was also planning to have targets in Delhi.

He had come to Jammu to set up hideouts so as to carry out terror activities here as well, apart from Kashmir, besides establishing a network to receive weapons brought in from Pakistan through tunnels, drones, or over ground by militants  and send them to Kashmir. He had also created a network with the help of his associates in Punjab to bring weapons from Bihar, police chief said, adding that seven pistols have so far been brought by them from Bihar’s Chappra area and distributed to militants in Kashmir. He has confessed his involvement in looting of Rs 60 lakh from Jammu Kashmir Bank’s cash van in Kashmir.

In 2018 when Jaish-e-Mohammad was involved in many terror activities with number of terrorists coming here through a tunnel from Pakistan, a terrorist Ashiq Nengroo used to receive them here . In December 2019, he along with his family was sent to Pakistan through the same tunnel, DGP said, adding that he is, at present, in Pakistan and giving direction to terror activities and arranging logistics at the directions of Pakistani agencies.