Security forces across Kashmir have been put on high alert in the wake of reports that militants were planning to carry out more suicide attacks in the Valley in the coming days to avenge the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
This information, sources said, was extracted by the Jammu and Kashmir Police from Riyaz Ahmad alias Abu Talah, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant from Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province, who was arrested on Thursday night in the Chatabal area here.
“Abu Talah is part of the group of nine militants who have infiltrated into the Valley in the last few weeks to carry out suicide attacks in Kashmir to avenge Afzal’s hanging,” the police said.
Two of the militants from the group carried out a suicide attack at Bemina here on Wednesday in which five CRPF jawans were killed and 10 others more injured, including four civilians. The killed militants have been identified as Haider, a resident of Shaiwal in Pakistan’s Punjab province and Saif of Dera Ghazi Khan.
A senior police official who is part of investigation team told Deccan Herald that initially Abu Talah was also asked to be part of the group that carried out the Bemina attack. “However, at the last moment he was asked by his Pakistani handlers from across the border to remain on standby for another attack. Abu Talah and the two fidayeen who were killed in Bemina attack had breakfast together on Wednesday hours before the deadly attack,” he said.
Asked why security forces were taken off guard during Wednesday attack, he said: “The group which has been sent to the Valley to carry out fidayeen attacks is being directly handled by LeT commanders from across the border. They take instructions from Pakistan and are not in connection with any local group.”
However, he said, now the police have got the clue and will soon wipe out the other members of the group. “Abu Talah was planning to carry out another fidayeen attack in Srinagar in coming days. He had infiltrated to Kashmir recently. He gave us some vital clues,” he said.
However, the officer declined to divulge further details. “It can hamper the investigations,” he said.
Sources said police had recovered a BSNL SIM card from the possession of slain fidayeen which gave vital clues in the investigation. “Police have arrested a local person, identified as Bashir Ahmad Mir who had provided logistic support to the militants. However, his name hasn’t been mentioned in the FIR as he was earlier working as source of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and later changed his loyalty,” they said.
While the attack was carried out by LeT cadres, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen was asked to claim the responsibility by Pakistani spy agency ISI. “It (ISI) doesn’t want to involve the name of LeT in the fidayeen attacks due to international pressure. It wants Hizb to claim responsibility which is more of an indigenous militant outfit,” he said.