The terrorists who stormed an artillery camp near the headquarters of the XVI Corps in Nagrota on Tuesday left behind posters proclaiming their action was intended to avenge Afzal Guru, the Jaish-e-Muhammad operative hanged in 2013 for his role in the attack on Parliament House. “Afzal Guru shaheed ke inteqaam ki ek aur kisht (another instalment of our vengeance for the martyr Afzal Guru),” the poster reads. The poster proclaims the action to be the work of “Ghazwa-e-Hind key fidayeen”, or holy warriors fighting for Ghazwa-e-Hind — some neo-fundamentalist sects attribute the saying to the prophecy of an apocalyptic war with India.
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Intelligence sources said the posters indicate that the attackers may have been linked to the Jaish-e-Muhammad, which calls its fidayeen units in Kashmir the Afzal Guru Squad. The prophecy is, however, widely cited by other jihadist groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
On Wednesday, Border Security Force officials discovered an 80-metre long cross-border tunnel, running across the India-Pakistan international border at Chamliyal. The discovery of the tunnel, used by three terrorists killed while attempting to stage an attack near Samba Tuesday, raised speculation that it or a similar route could have been used by the Nagrota attackers.
The tunnel, BSF officials said, was discovered during searches carried out after no breach was found in the barbed wire fencing that runs along the border in the area where the three Samba terrorists were shot.
Evidence that the Jaish-e-Muhammad carried out the Nagrota strike could lead New Delhi to resume its stalled diplomatic efforts to have the organisatio’’s head, Maulana Masood Azhar, listed by the United Nations as a terrorist. New Delhi had made efforts to secure his listing after the attack on the Pathankot airbase, carried out by the Jaish. However, China blocked the moves.
Four terrorists who attempted to storm Indi’’s consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif in January left behind similar messages scrawled in their own blood.””Afzal Guru ka inteqaam”” one message read.””Ek shaheed,
hazaar fidayee””, another said (one martyr, a thousand fidayeen).
Evidence found from the bodies of the three terrorists killed in Nagrota, Army sources said, suggested the men had recently crossed into Kashmir. The men were carrying packaged food and medicine, other than arms and explosives, typical of groups that cross the Line of Control with the specific intent of staging fidayeen attacks within hours or days.
BSF Deputy Inspector General Dharmendra Pareek said the terrorists killed in Samba were equipped with plastic handcuffs, suggesting they came intending to take hostages, as well as five two-litre devices filled with trinitroglycerine, a highly-incendiary liquid explosive.
In addition to assault rifles and mines designed to blow apart railway tracks, the terrorists also carried a global positioning system and food, the BSF said.
The tunnel was the fifth of its kind detected in the districts of Samba and Jammu since 2012. In March this year, the BSF had detected an incomplete tunnel dug up in Allah Mai De Kothey area.