Set back to terror as Police, security forces make huge arms haul in Reasi district

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Reasi: Ahead of the three day Shiv Khori mela being held on the occasion of Maha Shivratri beginning March 10 this year, Jammu Kashmir Police and security forces in a joint operation arrested a terror associate of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Reasi district’s Mahore town and claimed to have seized huge quantity of arms and ammunition at his instance including Rocket Propelled Gun (RPG), mortars among other things.

Identifying the arrested terror associate as Reyaz Ahmed, 21, he during questioning in presence of an executive magistrate disclosed that he has hidden a cache of arms and ammunition in a hideout between Makhidhar and Upper Shikari ridge of Mahore tehsil.

Accordingly a joint search operation by Jammu Kashmir Police and Army was launched and two Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) and Mortar Grenade Launcher (MGL), five grenades, one Rocket Propelled Gun (RPG), three mortar bombs, 80 rounds of INSAS, Snipper and AK rifles besides explosive material were recovered. The seizure also included one AK-47 rifle with 22 magazines and 150 cartridges, one rocket launcher, 16 under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) grenades, 4 hand grenades and two very high frequency (VHF) radio sets with antennas, said Reasi SP Surjeet Bhagat.

The seized cache was to be delivered to a person from Gool in adjoining Ramban district, he said, adding that it was part of the consignment sent by Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Khobaib, a resident of Doda, at present based in Pakistan.

Earlier on February 18, the police and security forces had seized an AK 47 rifle along with a sealed box of ammunition, one self loading rifle (SLR), one 303 bolt rifle and two Chinese pistols along with magazines and ammunition from Makhidhar forests. These seized arms and ammunition also were sent by Pak based LeT commander.

The seizure of huge quantity of arms and ammunition in Mahore area of otherwise peaceful Reasi district over the past two months have caused a huge set back to terrorists’ plan to revive their old routes from across the LoC in Rajouri district to Kashmir Valley and Chenab Valley region comprising Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts. With these large scale seizures which have come in the district after over six years, police and security forces have also foiled terrorists’ plan to revive militancy in Pir Panjal ranges especially ahead of the Amarnath yatra to South Kashmir Himalayas and Budha Amarnath yatra to Mandi in Poonch district of Jammu division.

Giving details, SP Surjeet Bhagat said that it all started with the apprehension of some people in connection with the busting of a terror funding module in December last. Following their sustained questioning, one Mohammad Yousaf, 20, of village Deval in Mahore tehsil was arrested and on his disclosure, a police team under the supervision of SSP Reasi, Rashmi Wazir, busted a hideout at village Lower Angrala leading to the seizure of five live grenades, a 9 mm pistol and ammunition.

Further questioning of Yousaf led to the apprehension of some more people leading to the seizure of more arms and ammunition from another hideout in Makhidhar forests on February 18.

In the meantime, police apprehended a terror associate in Jammu and on his disclosures, a joint operation was launched by police, Army and 126 Bn of CRPF on February 26 in Upper Sildhar and adjoining areas of Ranjati Top and Rousouwali Top and seized an AK 47 rifle along with two magazines and 150 rounds, one rocket launcher, 16 UBGL grenades and two VHF radio sets with antennas from an underground hideout built of stones.

SP Surjeet Bhagat said that more arrests and seizures of arms, ammunition and explosives are likely as police investigations and questioning of suspects are in progress.