Pak-based LeT behind recent blasts in Udhampur, says DGP

TNN Bureau. Updated: 10/3/2022 12:07:21 PM Front Page

‘Former terrorists under watch, measures being strengthened to deal with air-dropping of weapons’

Jammu: Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit was behind the recent twin blasts in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur which were carried out ahead of high profile visit of the Union home minister to convey all is not well in the Union Territory, DGP Dilbag Singh said on Sunday.
He said the case was cracked within three days with the arrest of a recyled terrorist with five more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in his posession, including three ready-to-use sticky bombs.
Pakistan is an enemy of development and a lover of destruction. That is what they have done over the last 30 years. They won't like any development to happen.
Defintely Pakistan and its agencies have been ensuring that the valley remains not in peace but in turmoil. Now the things are better and improving with each passing day, the Director General of Police told reporters here.
Flanked by Mukesh Singh, ADG, Jammu, and other senior police officers from Udhampur district, the police chief said whenever there is a high profile visit, terrorists become desperate to launch an attack.
There is a drastic change in the overall security situation in J&K as borne out by facts and not based on mere claims a very large number of successful operations have been conducted. We have tried to keep our people and their properties safe during the counter-terrorist operations, he said.
Singh said the forces have the people's support in the Union Territory, and the security scenario in region is relatively much better today than what prevailed about four years back.
Therefore, to sabotage the VIP visit or any such activity which sends a positive message to the people, the terrorists and their handlers across the border try to show that all is not well.
There are still some terrorists left and our operations are on and we will be able to take care of them, he said, responding to questions on the Amit Shah's visit to the region starting October 4.
Mukesh Singh said that police have also busted a module of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Kathua district arresting one of its members with a sticky bomb.
Two buses were blown within a span of eight hours on September 28 and 29 at a time when the security forces were put on high alert across the Union Territory in view of Amit Shah's visit.
Two people were injured in the first blast that took place in a bus near a petrol pump at Domail Chowk at around 10.30 pm on September 28. There was no casualty in the second explosion which also ripped through a stationary bus at the old bus stand in Udhampur at around 5.30 am the next morning.
The ADGP said LeT terrorist Mohd Amin Bhat alias Khubaib', a resident of Doda district who is presently operating from Pakistan, had contacted Aslam Sheikh of Basant Garh on September 21 and gave him the task of carrying out the blast ahead of the Union minister's visit.
Aslam was contacted through social media by Khubaib, who was also behind another blast in Udhampur on September 21, and told him to pick the drone-dropped consignment in Diyalacheck the night of September 23.
He picked up the consignment of three sticky bombs and four other types of IEDs and planted two of these IEDs inside the passenger buses while travelling from Basant Garh to Ram Nagar, he said.
Udhampur Police had picked up five people for questioning following the blasts and Sheikh was one of them, who confessed to being involved in the blasts, and led the police to the recovery of five more IEDs and sticky bombs.
The ADGP identified the arrested JeM operative as Zakir Hussain of Malhar village of Kathua. He said Hussain was in contact one Fareed, a JeM terrorist from Pakistan, who had returned there after serving a jail term in J&K.
He said that over the past six months, police had been observing that the terrorists operating from Pakistan were trying to revive their old contacts to carry out terror attacks in J&K. Several such modules have already been busted by police.
The DGP said Sheikh was an active terrorist in 2005 and was arrested in a case lodged in Billawar. He was recently released and was contacted by Khubaib.
It is a shameful act that Pro-Pakistan agencies are trying to disturb peace in the Jammu region. Whenever there is a high profile visit, we come across such types of activities. Two JeM fidayeen were eliminated on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last visit in April, he said.
He also saidthat they are keeping a close watch on the activities of former terrorists who have been released from jails amid attempts by Pakistan-based handlers to recycle them into terrorism.
Singh also said several measures have been taken to counter the dropping of weapons and narcotics with the help of drones from across the border and more such measures are in the pipeline.
"This (recycling of former terrorists) is not a problem related to the Jammu province alone. There are numerous examples where such terrorists (after their release from jails) became active again for a second time, a third time or even a fourth time in the valley, but most of them stand eliminated," the police chief told reporters here.
He said police are keeping an eye on such elements who were active terrorists at some point of time and are now released from jails after serving their sentences.
"We are keeping a close eye on their activities and will definitely take action if they are found involved (in terror activities again)," Singh said, replying to a question about attempts from Pakistan to rope in former terrorists to carry out terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked about the challenge posed by the use of drones to drop weapons and drugs from across the border, he said police and other security forces are able to intercept most of the dropped material.
"With the help of technology and human intelligence, we are successfully intercepting the weapons and narcotics and have busted several modules (involved in weapons and narcotics smuggling) in the recent past, including one operating from Jammu. We are working to ensure that we have better counter measures on the ground to thwart all such attempts," Singh said.
Replying to a question about possible links between terrorists in Punjab and those operating in Jammu and Kashmir, he said no such direct link has so far been found.
"Whatever is happening in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, including air-dropping of weapons and narcotics to fund terror activities, is controlled by handlers sitting in Pakistan. They are common in both cases but no direct link between the terrorists in Punjab and those operating in Jammu and Kashmir has been found as of now," he said.
Replying to another question, the DGP said there was no major involvement of women in terror-related activities but they were found involved in the narco trade.
"We do not differentiate between a woman and a man as the law is equal for both of them," he said.
On a proposal to install full body scanners on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway to check the smuggling of weapons into Kashmir, Singh said a committee is working on it.
He said most of the areas in Jammu and Kashmir are still terror-free.
"Attempts are being made to revive terrorism, especially in the Jammu region, but all such attempts are being thwarted by the alert police and security forces, with the busting of several modules this year," he added.
The DGP said the use of sticky bombs by the LeT is a challenge for the security forces.
"Most of the sticky bombs are being supplied through the LeT. There are several incidents where sticky bombs were used in the Jammu province and one in Kulgam district of south Kashmir," he said, adding that these bombs are associated with a particular terror group and are a "serious threat" because these are ready to use and easy to handle.


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