A 37-year-old man has been arrested from Sarthal in Kathua district in Jammu after police recovered ammunition and explosive from his residence. Sources said nine gelatin sticks, four detonators, three rounds of self-loading rifle, one round of AK 47, three rounds of LMG, two metres of black cortex wire, a laptop, a camera and 150 gm of charas were recovered from the residence of Ayaz Ahmed.
Police sources said the is significant as the Sarthal area has not seen militant activities since early 2000. Sarthal is located on the border of Bhaderwah in the hilly Doda district, which recently saw militant activities.
Police suspect the seizure hints at militants’ plan to set up a hideout in Sarthal.
Ayaz, a shopkeeper, was earlier arrested under POTA in 2001 after a contractor was murdered. After remaining in jail for nearly three years, he was acquitted for want of prosecution witnesses, police said.
Deputy SP (Operations) Prithpal Singh said the camera recovered from Ayaz was of a very high quality. He added that Ayaz was known to be sympathiser of the militants and is currently being questioned.
Police sources said Ayaz has denied knowledge about the seized explosives. As for the laptop and camera, he has said that he was, for a while, working with a local English newspaper published from Jammu and needed the gadgets. He had, however, left the job, said sources.
Sources added that personnel of the Special Operations Group had spotted Ayaz using his laptop as he sat at his shop located under his residence. “He was seen sitting in the corner of his shop with a laptop. This is not common in a remote hilly area located nearly 280 km away from the district headquarters at Kathua,” a police official said.