GANDHIANGAR, WNS: In a major breakthrough, a terrorist was arrested at midnight in a joint operation of the Anantnag Police and the Samba Police from the outskirts of Jammu city.
Anantnag Police arrested Zahoor Ahmad Rather, alias Khalid alias Sahil, a terrorist of TRF or The Resistance Front, a frontal name for Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, from Bari Brahmana in Samba district. The operation was assisted by Samba Police.
Zahoor had killed three BJP workers in Vessu, Kulgam district last year and one policeman at Furrah in the same district. The terrorist is the second-in-command at TRF after Abbas Sheikh.
Anantnag Police SSP Sandeep Chaudhary confirmed the development but refused to divulge further details. Anantnag Police would seek transit remand of Zahoor in a Jammu court on Saturday.
Top sources in the security establishment suggest that terrorist Zahoor was in Samba to collect a weapons’ consignment which was to be routed via Pakistan through a drone. The international border in the Samba sector has been a major route for weapons’ dropping. With the arrest of Zahoor, a major terror conspiracy has been foiled by J&K Police’s Anantnag team.
Joint multiple-agency interrogation of the terrorist is underway in Jammu. Born in 1985, Zahoor was raised in South Kashmir and was a surrendered terrorist. Zahoor had received terror training by Hizbul Mujahideen in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) around 2004 and later surrendered in 2006. In 2020, he again became active after joining Lashkar-e-Taiba’s TRF.
Last week, Hidayatullah Malik, a categorised terrorist from Shopian district, had been caught in a joint operation led by Anantnag Police. Hidayatullah is the chief of Lashkar-e-Mustafa, a front for Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad in Kashmir valley.
Hidayatullah was involved in making an explosive-laden vehicle last year which was intercepted by security forces. A major terror attack by a vehicle-borne IED blast was averted by the timely input and action of Pulwama Police, the CRPF and the Army on May 28 last year, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar had confirmed. The drone footage of how the bomb disposal squad exploded the vehicle after evacuating the area was released by J&K Police last year.
The arrests of Hidayatullah and Zahoor have broken the backbone of Pakistan’s terror conspiracy in Jammu and Kashmir. Multiple raids are underway across Jammu and Kashmir based on their interrogation.
Multiple-agency interrogation of Hidayatullah has also revealed startling details of a terror threat to India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval. The interrogation of Jaish terrorist Hidayatullah Malik, who was arrested from Kunjwani, Jammu, has revealed that Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad was planning to target NSA Ajit Doval and his office at Sardar Patel Bhawan in New Delhi.
Hidayatullah had conducted reconnaissance of the Sardar Patel Bhawan office in New Delhi in May 2019 and the video of the recce was transferred to his handlers in Pakistan. Security, meanwhile, has been beefed up at the office and residence of the NSA.
CNN-News18 had first shared the details of the arrest of Hidayatullah by Anantnag Police last week after following him for three days. Hidayatullah is being probed in the Pulwama terror attack and related cases as well.
The developments come on a day when Network18 travelled to Samba sector and spent considerable time along the India-Pakistan International Border.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the Pulwama terror attack in J&K, Network18 exclusively reported from the Samba sector, at the India-Pakistan international border, on the high-security grid and preparedness of the Border Security Force (BSF) to thwart nefarious designs of Pakistan.
Contributing Editor Aditya Raj Kaul reports from Samba sector on the eve of Pulwama attack anniversary.
Contributing Editor Aditya Raj Kaul travelled across several border outposts at the International Border where the BSF recently shot dead a Pakistani intruder and unearthed a tunnel, which was used by terrorists with support from Pakistani Rangers and the ISI to infiltrate into India.
The intruder was killed at the Chak Faquira border outpost in the Samba sector, on the morning of February 8. On January 13, the BSF had unearthed a tunnel in Bobiyaan village along the International Border in Samba sector.
Sources indicate it was earlier believed that terrorists were increasingly using a Nallah (riverine route) to infiltrate over the last few years, now there is a change in strategy with more use of underground tunnels for infiltration.
Terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad have often used these tunnels to infiltrate terrorists into India in recent months.
Months before the Pulwama terror attack shook India on February 14, 2019, in which 40 CRPF men were killed, Jaish-e Mohammad terrorist Ashaq Nengroo, according to sources within the National Investigation Agency (NIA), “used his three trucks to ferry freshly infiltrated terrorists from Jammu border to the Kashmir valley”. “From October 2017 to September 2018, before fleeing to Pakistan, Ashaq transported 33 Jaish-e-Mohammad Pakistani terrorists from Jammu border to Kashmir valley in his trucks”. Sources indicate that Ashaq fled India along with his family in December 2018 using one of the tunnels at the India-Pakistan International Border.
The tunnel unearthed by the Border Security Force in Bobiyaan village along the international border in Samba sector.
Today, sitting at an undisclosed location in PoK, “(Ashaq) Nengroo is actively working with JeM leadership and is instrumental in infiltration of several Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists through Jammu and Punjab borders along with arms and ammunition,” reveals a senior investigator of the NIA investigating the case.
Security top brass in New Delhi now believes that terrorist Ashaq Nengroo, who is well-versed with the Jammu and Punjab international borders, has been introduced to Khalistani groups by the Pakistan ISI to push arms and ammunitions using drones through Jammu as well as the Punjab border.
Intelligence agencies also believe that Pakistan is desperate to instigate and provoke internal violence in the Kashmir valley after it saw no negative response to India’s abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.
The Border Security Force (BSF) continues to use latest technology including thermal imagery to detect movement along the border.
While memories of the Pulwama terror attack remain fresh, security forces including the BSF remain vigilant and more than prepared to tackle prevailing threats and terror conspiracy of the Pakistan deep state.