MOD NOTE: India Pakistan relations thread from Indian side.
The NIA Tuesday filed a charge sheet naming Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and 17 others for “carrying out the Pulwama attack at the behest of Pakistan”.
With this, the agency has linked all those allegedly involved in the attack to Pakistan and the Jaish.
One of the key accused in the Pulwama attack, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, is Mohammad Umar Farooq, son of Ibrahim Athar, one of the five terrorists who had hijacked the Indian Airlines IC 814 in December 1999 and secured the release of Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar. Farooq is also a nephew of Azhar.
The charge sheet — filed 18 months after the attack — said it was a result of a “well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based leadership of terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad” and “brought on record the all-out involvement of Pakistan-based entities to carry out terrorist strikes in India and to incite and provoke Kashmiri youth”.
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Training in Afghanistan
The NIA claimed that the JeM leaders have been sending their cadres to the terrorist training camps of Al-Qaeda-Taliban-JeM and Haqqani-JeM in Afghanistan to receive training in explosives and other terror tactics, and for the Pulwama attack too, special training was given.
Farooq, the key accused, visited Afghanistan for explosives training in 2016-17, an NIA official said.
“He infiltrated into India through the International Border at Jammu-Samba Sector in April 2018 and took over as the Jaish-e-Mohammad Commander of Pulwama,” he said.
“Mohammad Umar along with his Pakistani compatriots, Kamran, Ismail and Qari Yasir, and local associates Sameer Dar and Adil Ahmad Dar, planned and prepared for the attack on security forces using IEDs,” the official said.
Seven Pakistanis, 12 locals
Among the 19 people charge-sheeted, 12 are residents of Kashmir, while 7 are Pakistani nationals.
The ones from Pakistan are Masood Azhar Alvi, Rouf Asgar Alvi, Ammar Alvi, Qari Yasir, Muhammad Umar Farooq (killed in an encounter), Kamran Ali (killed in an encounter) and Mohammad Ismail.
The remaining 12 are Shakir Bashir, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmed Shah, Waiz-ul-Islam, Mohammad Abbas Rather, Bilal Ahmed Kuchhey, Mohd Iqbal Rather, Sameer Ahmad Dar, Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo, Adil Ahmed Dar (the suicide bomber who was killed), Sajjad Ahmed Bhat (killed), Mudasir Ahmad Khan (killed).
According to the NIA, Shakir Bashir, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmad Shah and Bilal Ahmad Kuchey provided all logistics and harboured the JeM terrorists in their houses.
“From December 2018 onwards, Shakir Bashir started doing reconnaissance of the movement and deployment of security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Mudasir Ahmad Khan arranged gelatin sticks and handed them over to Shakir Bashir,” the official said.
“RDX was brought by the Pakistani terrorists who infiltrated into India. Shakir Bashir collected the explosive material i.e. RDX, gelatin sticks, aluminium power and calcium-ammonium nitrate and stocked them at his house for making the IED,” he added.
According to an NIA source, the explosives were brought into the Valley from Pakistan over a period of four months on Amavasya nights (first night of the lunar phase of the New Moon).
“The explosives were sneaked in from across the borders on the nights when there would be no moon. This is a strategy that is used by the infiltrators wherein they wait for dark nights,” the source said.
Investigation revealed that in January 2019, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat allegedly purchased a Maruti EECO car for the purpose of carrying out the IED attack.
“The car was kept in the front-yard of Shakir Bashir’s house. Waiz-Ul-Islam ordered 4 kg of aluminium powder from his Amazon account on the directions of accused Mohammad Ismail and gave the same to him,” the official said.
“Towards the end of January 2019, Mohammad Umar Farooq, Sameer Dar and Adil Dar made the propaganda video clip of the suicide attack at Insha Jan’s house, which was released immediately after the attack,” he added.
Heavy snowfall postponed attack
According to the NIA, in the first week of February 2019, Umar Farooq, Sameer Ahmad Dar, Adil Ahmad Dar and Shakir Bashir made the IED using RDX, calcium-ammonium nitrate, gelatin sticks and aluminium powder, and assembled it in two containers, one weighing around 160 kg and the other weighing around 40 kg.
The two IED containers were then fitted in the Maruti EECO car and were ready by the morning of 6 February 2019, the NIA claimed.
“However, because of heavy snowfall, the National Highway got closed for the vehicular movement,” the NIA official said, adding that “the attack got postponed”.
Then, on 14 February, as the National Highway opened, Shakir Bashir allegedly drove Adil Ahmad Dar until the National Highway, after which Dar took charge of the vehicle.
He allegedly drove on to the highway and carried out the suicide attack by ramming the Maruti EECO car laden with 200 kg of high-grade explosives into a bus of the CRPF convoy.
Another attack planned
Investigation into the case also revealed that Jaish had allegedly planned yet another attack on the security forces after Pulwama, but it was aborted due to international pressure, the NIA official said.
“Investigation has revealed that the Pakistan-based JeM leadership consisting of Masood Azhar, Rouf Asgar and Ammar Alvi were continuously giving directions and guidance to the Pakistani JeM terrorists (who had infiltrated into India) both before and after the attack,” the official said.
“They had also planned to carry out another suicide attack, which got averted due to Balakot strikes and due to killing of main conspirator Umar Farooq by the security forces. Further, due to international pressure, Pakistan lied low,” he added.
According to the NIA, investigation also revealed a well-crafted mechanism by Pakistani establishment to push terrorists into the Indian territory from the launch pads located in Shakargarh (Pakistan) opposite Samba-Kathua sector in Jammu.
“Non-bailable warrants have been issued against the absconding accused and further investigation in the case is on,” the official said.
NIA charge sheet says Pulwama attack ‘brought on record all-out involvement of Pakistan-based entities to carry out terrorist strikes in India and to incite and provoke Kashmiri youth’.
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