J&K Police close to busting terror network aiding infiltration

| Updated: 21 June, 2024 7:32 pm IST

JAMMU: Police are close to dismantling a terror module responsible for assisting terrorists after their infiltration from the International Border (IB) in the Hiranagar and Kathua sectors. These terrorists were guided to the mountains of Udhampur and eventually reached Doda, the Pir Panjal Range, and the Kashmir Valley.

Two members of the module have been detained and are likely to be arrested, while another suspect, who was supposed to escort the terrorists eliminated in Hiranagar on June 11 and 12, is on the run. A person who sheltered the terrorists in his house is also evading capture, and efforts are underway to locate the fugitives.

Sources informed The New Indian that two individuals who guided the terrorists to a terror associate’s house, where they stayed overnight, have been apprehended by a joint team of intelligence agencies, the Special Operations Group (SOG), and the police for questioning. They have been identified as Ashiq Ali, son of Sherwani, and Maskeen Ali, son of Faqir Hussain, both residents of Bathal Chak in the Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district.

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The duo led the terrorists to the house of a terror associate in the village of Sherpur, where they spent the night. According to sources, a terror guide known by the code name Haji Bakerwal was supposed to arrive that night to guide the terrorists to the forests of Udhampur, from where they were to proceed to the forests of either Doda or Kashmir. However, when Haji Bakerwal failed to appear, the terrorists attempted to reach the forests on their own but lost their way. In the intense heat, they sought water from villagers and were subsequently trapped.

An encounter ensued on the night of June 11, resulting in the death of one terrorist that night and another the next day in the village of Saida in Hiranagar. A CRPF jawan was martyred in the encounter, and a civilian was injured.

Intelligence agencies, the SOG, and the police have detained the two terror suspects and are now searching for Haji Bakerwal, who remains at large. Haji Bakerwal is suspected of previously assisting other terrorists in reaching the forests on their way to Doda and Kashmir after infiltrating from the International Border.

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Ashiq Ali and Maskeen Ali are undergoing intensive interrogation to determine if they have assisted additional groups of terrorists. Although they claim to have inadvertently encountered the terrorists and guided them to the house, security agencies are sceptical of their story, as they failed to inform the police about the terrorists’ movements even after the encounter.

Sources suggest that the theory of the Pakistan army having dug a tunnel along the International Border to facilitate terrorist infiltration has not been dismissed. The BSF has been conducting anti-tunneling operations along the border, but no such tunnels have been discovered thus far.

The arrest of Haji Bakerwal could potentially provide more clues to security agencies, the sources said.

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