An attempt by banned Hizbul Mujahideen to revive militancy in Kishtwar district of Jammu region has been scuttled with the busting of a module which was planning to carry out grenade attacks at busy locations and recruit local youths, a senior police officer said.
A Hizbul Mujahideen militant and an overground worker (OGW) hiding under the guise of a Maulvi running a Madrasa were arrested and a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from them, Kishtwar’s Senior Superintendent of Police Abrar Chowdhary told.
He said more arrests and recoveries are expected as a massive manhunt for other members of the module is on in the district, while some boys recruited by them were ‘recovered’ and are being counselled.
Police have been working for last many days to crack the terror module planning to revive militancy in the district and creating terror among the public by lobbing grenades, he said.
He said the police after authenticating its field information, laid check points at some places near Kishtwar town and intercepted Hizbul Mujahideen militant Rameez Ahmed Wani, a resident of Tandar-Dachan, and recovered a Chinese pistol, a magazine, some live cartridges, two hand grenades and various incriminating documents from him.
The Kishtwar police chief said the police had developed information about him that he had been ferrying arms and explosives to his mentor Amin Bhat alias Jehangir Saroori and was trying to induct some new youths into the militancy.
During Wani’s interrogation, the SSP said it was found that a number of other persons in and around Kishtwar town have been working as OGWs of the banned outfit and were trying to conduct fresh recruitment beside arranging and procuring arms and ammunition for them.
On Wani’s disclosures, the police conducted raids and arrested one active OGW Nissar Ahmed Ganie, originally a resident of Amratgarh-Charala of Doda district but presently residing in Deewaro Link Road Kishtwar, he said.
During sustained interrogation of Ganie, the police recovered three magazines of AK-47 rifle and 90 rounds from him.
The SSP said Ganie was running a Madarsa (religious school) in Kishtwar town with the name ‘Darul-Uloom Usmania’ since 2013.
“He had established his office in the premises of madrasa under the garb of madrasa manager and teacher and was carrying out his OGW activities,” the SSP said.
Chowdhary said he has disclosed that the consignment of arms and ammunition recovered from Wani was arranged by him from another active OGW.
Ganie was involved in OGW activities mainly related to procuring arms and ammunition for new recruits using the money being given to him by Hizbul Mujahideen and was also involved in harbouring agents and conduits and in co-ordinating their activities. The police had kept Ganie’s activities under surveillance since December last year, the officer said.
Both Wani and Ganie were under instructions from their mentor and Hizbul Mujahdien terrorist Jehangir Saroori to lob grenade at busy localities in the district to create scare and fear psychosis among the public, he said.
Terming their arrest as a major breakthrough, he said their arrest averted a major tragedy in the district.
Wani disclosed that he was working as an active militant for the last three years but had not performed an open major terror act so far to conceal his terrorist identity.
He said he was entrusted the job of inducting youths into the terror outfit on Saroori’s instructions.
In 2017, the SSP said Wani had recruited two youths, Ikhlaq Ahmed and Reyaz Ahmed Wani, and had given them a pistol and two grenades and had instructed them to execute a terror strike in the Valley as a trial under close supervision of another Hizbul hardcore OGW Touseef Ahmed Gundana.
When the trio was in the process of planning the terror strike in Srinagar, the alert police party of police station Parimpora arrested them and recovered a pistol and some grenades from their possession, he said, adding a case had been registered against the trio but all of them later got bail.
The SSP said he had prepared two other youths for joining Hizbul Mujahideen and was to send them to join the outfit in a couple of days.
They (new recruits) have been identified by the police and the police is in the process of counselling them, he said.
He said the police parties under the supervision of Kishtwar’s Additional SP Parbeet Singh are searching another youth of Dachhan who has been mentally prepared by Wani to join the outfit and was also waiting for arms and ammunition from him.
Another youth Mudasir Ahmed of Tandar Dachhan, who has been missing for more than a month, has also been sent by Wani to join the terror outfit, he said.
He was motivated by Wani and his joining with Saroori through the Padder axis was facilitated by Gundana, the Kishtwar police chief said.
Wani’s younger brother was studying in Islamic college Srinagar from where he is missing since July 2017 and as per reports had joined the terror outfit.
Wani had also motivated and sent other three youths in the jungles of Dachhan to join the terror group on June 29 but the boys were traced by the police, he said, identifying them as Usman Ahmed Wani, Sajid Ahmed and Junaid Ahmed.