|3 Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists involved in BJP, RSS killings arrested: Jammu IGP|
Jammu, Sept 23
Three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, involved in all four cases of terror strikes in Kishtwar district in last one year, including the killings of two senior leaders of the BJP and RSS, have been arrested, J&K police said on Monday.
Jammu's Inspector General of Police Mukesh Singh said all four cases of terror strikes in Kishtwar district in the last one year have been solved following the trio's arrest.
Further efforts are on to arrest other active terrorists of the outfit, which hatched the conspiracy in 2017-18 to revive militancy in the Chenab valley, said Singh, adding they will be brought to book very soon.
The arrested terrorists were involved in the four terror strikes between November last year and September this year, said Singh, identifying them as key conspirator Nissar Ahmad Sheikh and his two accomplices Nishad Ahmad and Azad Hussain, all Kishtwar residents.
Flanked by Sector 9 Commander, Brigadier Vikram Bhan and other senior officers, the IGP told reporters in a news conference that security agencies busted two hideouts, set up in houses of Sheikh and Hussain, which were used before and after each of the terror acts.
The police also recovered a rifle and some pistols and ammunition from the two hideouts, he added.
Kishtwar district had been declared terror-free over a decade ago, but terrorists made their presence felt in the town on November 1, 2018 when they shot dead BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar.
In the second strike, they snatched the service rifle of the deputy commissioner's PSO Daleep Kumar on March 8.
They struck again at district hospital on April 9, killing RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO before fleeing the scene with the service rifle of the slain cop.
The terrorists again struck People's Democratic Party district president Sheikh Nasir Hussain's house at Gourian village on September 13, and escaped with the service rifle of his Personal Security Officer.
Sending a strong warning to terrorists' sympathizers, the IGP said, "I would like to send a message that anyone harbouring, sympathizing, transporting or helping terrorists in any form will be dealt with very strictly under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) act."
"After this action (the arrest of accused), I am sure nobody will join the terrorists' ranks in Doda and Kishtwar belt," he said.
Singh said only six terrorists are active in Jammu region and they included the longest surviving militant of Kishtwar, Mohammad Amin alias "Jehangir Saroori" who along with Osama, Sheikh and others, had chalked out a conspiracy to revive militancy in the region under the banner of Hizbul Mujahideen.
"The four terror cases were solved due to round-the-clock efforts of Kishtwar police with the help of Army, CRPF and National Investigation Agency (NIA)," said Singh, adding the NIA team which is here and investigating one of these cases would soon be taking the arrested accused on remand for custodial interrogation.
In response to a question, the IGP said, "We are questioning many other suspects regarding their possible involvement in these cases. The investigation of the case is still on and all those involved in these terrorist acts will be arrested."
He said an absconding terrorist Rustam, built the two hideouts in houses of Sheikh and Hussain.
"Saroori, Rustam, Haroon and Zahid are the other accused in the case and are on the run," said Singh, adding there is one more terrorist with alias "Moin-ul-Islam" who belongs to Kashmir and had participated in the last two strikes.
"Our attempt is to arrest active terrorists. We have come close to the success many a times but they managed to escape. As far as Saroori is concerned, we have seen his footprints and launched many operations against him but since this areas is hilly, he is able to dodge security forces as soon as he comes to know about their movement," he said.
"We will, however, be successful against these terrorists very soon," he said.
In response to another question about involvement of any other terror group like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) outfits in these cases, he said, "The investigation so far revealed the footprints of only Hizbul MUjahideen.
"We have also not come across any Pakistan link so far. The investigation is still on," he added.
Asked if the rifle recovered from the hideout was one of the two weapons snatched by terrorists from policemen, he said the looted arms have not been recovered so far.
In response to another question, he said the motive behind the killings was to spread terror in the region.
On unconfirmed reports that some terrorists have sneaked into Dachhan-Marwah belt from south Kashmir and established their hideouts, Singh said, "We have not come across any militant hideout in Dachhan-Marwah belt."