The Jammu and Kashmir Police are in western Uttar Pradesh and are working alongside the state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to track migrant workers from the area to the Valley who, like suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Sandeep Kumar Sharma, had not returned.
Sources said J&K Police and UP ATS are trying to track migrant workers who came in contact with Sharma. “The aim is to find those who haven’t returned after going to Kashmir. We have zeroed in on four persons who came in contact with Sharma. But we haven’t found any evidence to ascertain that they were also working for the terror cell.”
Sandeep Kumar alias Adil was originally a resident of Muzaffarnagar and the police have claimed that he was involved in a recent attack that killed six policemen in Kashmir. The police maintained that he came under the scanner after he was found in a Lashkar hideout.
His arrest was a wake-up call for J&K Police, with officers saying that this was a “first such case” where “non-locals” were found to be active in militancy in the region.
The four persons being tracked by J&K Police and ATS are in different parts of Delhi and areas in western UP, including Saharanpur, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar. This, sources said, was also an attempt at verifying what Sharma has said during his interrogation.
Citing one instance, an officer said, “We have found a resident of Delhi who hails from western UP and was working with a power company in Noida in 2010. There someone told him that he could move to Kashmir where he would get better wages.”
The man moved briefly to Baramulla to work as an electrician in 2011 with five or six others, said the officer. “Then, he worked in Samba in Jammu in 2012 where he came in contact with Sharma. Although this man returned to Delhi in 2013, Sharma did not.”
The LeT has denied links with Sharma and said it was a ploy by intelligence agencies to sabotage the Kashmir movement.