National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday said that a Pakistani terrorist in its custody has said that he learnt from his handlers that the ongoing stir in Kashmir has been precipitated by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT). He has also said that he was infiltrated into Kashmir to mix with the agitating crowds and throw grenades at security forces, NIA has claimed.
The terrorist, identified as Bahadur Ali alias Saifulla, is a resident of Lahore and is presently in NIA custody. Kashmir has been on the boil for over a month since the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.
“During communications with Bahadur Ali, Alpha-3 (LeT control room) told that the LeT cadres
had been successful in fuelling large scale agitation in Kashmir after EID subsequent to the death of Burhan Wani in Kashmir. Further investigation is continuing on the disclosure of Bahadur Ali regarding his role in the present unrest in Kashmir,” NIA IG Sanjeev Kumar Singh said while releasing a CD of Ali’s confession of being an LeT-trained terrorist.
“Bahadur Ali was member of one of the groups who was directed to take advantage of the current situation in Kashmir and throw grenades by mixing into the crowd,” Singh added.
Singh also said that Ali was trained and infiltrated into India with active support from Pakistan Army and its border forces.
“Since the onset of summer of 2016 LeT, with the help of Pak forces deployed on the border has been infiltrating heavily armed trained terrorists into India with the direction to mix with the local people and create disturbance and attack police and security forces,” Singh said.
He claimed that NIA had collected evidence which showed that Ali was trained and equipped by military personnel.
“Arms, ammunition and equipment recovered from terrorists establish support and involvement of military experts. For example, engineering modifications done on ICOM RT sets (made in Japan) to cover whole range of VHF frequency, requires high degree of precision engineering in electronics,” he said.
To further establish his case, Singh added, “Providing the terrorists with specific Grid References for the route to be followed and use of GPS, compass and topographical sheets during movement also establish that these LeT terrorists were trained and mentored by military experts.”
Singh also said that Bahadur Ali was constantly guided and directed by the LeT control centre Alpha-3, which was available on a prefixed frequency on ICOM handsets, being carried by Ali and his associates.
“As per Bahadur Ali and other available evidence, control centre Alpha-3 is a fixed communication centre, established at a high altitude peak in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, which is operated with support from Pakistani forces. Once the terrorists are inside Indian territory, Alpha-3 guides, directs and controls their operations. Whenever required, Alpha-3 arranges tactical and material support through previously identified contacts,” Singh said.
According to NIA, Ali had listened to LeT chief Hafiz Saeed’s speeches and even attended the funeral in absentia of LeT’s Kashmir based terrorist Abu Qasim with Saeed. He had also got in touch with Saeed’s close aide and relative Abdul Rehman Makki for a one on one meeting with Saeed, NIA said.
During interrogation Ali has named his handler as Walid and said that two Army officers in civvies who referred to as major Saab and Colonel Saab took stock of their training and equipment with a check list in hand before they infiltrated into India.
Singh said that during interrogation Ali also revealed that the man who took him across the border, identified as Abu Haider, told him that Pakistan forces would give cover fire to help them cross the border in case Indian forces spotted them and tried to stop them.
Giving details of his recruitment and trianing, Singh said that Bahadur Ali was recruited in Jamaat ud Dawa (JUD) by close aides of Hafiz Sayeed in the year 2008-2009, at the tender age of 13/14 years and he was given the task of collecting Jihad fund in his village.
Subsequently, Moulana Abdur Rahim, who belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), radicalised him and made him join the LeT by showing video films of alleged atrocities on Muslims in different parts of the world including India and exhorting youth to undertake jihad against India to establish Islamic rule there, Singh said. Bahadur Ali also served in the office of the front end NGO of LeT by the name of Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) at Lahore, Pakistan, Singh said.
Bahadur Ali underwent three training courses organised by the LeT: 15 day Daura-e-Tulba at Manshera in the year 2013, which is the basic training course, 21-days Daura-e-Aam training course at Aksa camp near Muzaffarabad in September/October 2014, for the first stage of arms training and 30-days Daura-e-Khas training course at Tabook camp near Muzaffarabad in the summer of 2016, for sophisticated arms training and field crafts, Singh said.
“He has stated that there are 30 to 50 trainees at any time in each course, which runs throughout the year. At the training camps of LeT, there were trainees from different parts of Pakistan including the Pushto speaking trainees from the area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. After training, the Pushto speaking trainees are sent to Afghanistan for Jihad,” Singh said.
“Bahadur Ali also said that the Ghaibana Namaz-e-Janaza (Namaz-e-Janaza in absentia), of Pakistani LeT cadres, who die in India while waging Jihad, is performed in Pakistan. He said that he had participated in the Ghaibana Namaz-e-Janaza of the LeT Commander of South Kashmir Abu Qasim, who died in Kashmir in October 2015, Singh said adding that this was led by Hafiz Sayeed.
“He said that his group of terrorists was launched after being staged forward at their Dett (detachment) near the line of control between India and Pakistan. This Dett is headed by a senior member of LeT who provides arms and ammunition as well as other accessories like GPS, Night Vision Devices, Compass, Grenades, grenade launchers, maps, matrix sheets, food packets, dry ration, medicines etc. Bahadur Ali was launched from Mandakuli Dett. Abu Haider was the Commander at the Dett. They were repeatedly shown the infiltration route on the google maps on a LCD TV,” Singh said.
Simultaneously, they were shown videos of landmarks available on the route. They were also made to write their own communication codes for communicating with the control centre (Alpha-3).
“Bahadur Ali said that a few army officers in civilian clothes visited the Dett and briefed them and checked their preparedness. Bahadur Ali said that officers were referred as Major sahib and Captain sahib. This corroborates the statement made by Md. Naveed, another Pakistani national, who was arrested in the BSF convoy attack at Udhampur in August 2015,” Singh said.
He claimed to have evidence to show that “there is an operations room at Muzaffarabad from where a senior commander of LeT controls the movement of terrorists across the border and their terror activities, after infiltrating into the Indian side. The In-charge of the control centre at Muzaffarabad whom Bahadur Ali had also met before infiltrating into India was a man named Waleed.”
According to NIA, Bahadur Ali crossed over to Indian side on 11th/12th June along with two other LeT cadres namely Saad and Darda. He moved through the hilly terrain with the help of eight map Grid References (GR) given by Hyder at the Dett. They spent about seven days travelling across one grid reference at a time. Around 22nd of June, Bahadur Ali got separated from his LeT associates and then kept in touch with Alpha-3 (control centre) and followed its directions. When Bahadur Ali asked Alpha-3 about the whereabouts of his two associates, he was told that he should not bother about them because they have been safely sent to different places for throwing of grenades by mixing into the crowd. In all he stayed for about a month in the general area of Handwara, before being apprehended on 25th July, 2016, NIA said.
According to NIA, Ali was arrested thanks information provided by local residents in Kupwara. Although he tried his best to mix with the crowd and create trouble as directed, he was ill at ease because his Urdu was laced with thick Punjabi accent and he was easily singled out, NIA sources said.
Describing his arrest, NIA said that on July 25, local residents of Yahama in Kupwara district informed the local police about suspicious movement of a person. Based on the information, police apprehended Ali and recovered a wireless set, a GPS device, matrix sheet of codes, a compass, Unicode sheets, maps and Indian currency.
On questioning, he disclosed that his real name is Bahadur Ali alias Saifulla, son of Mohammed Haneef (Haneefi Deobandi), resident of Village Zia-Bagha, near Haloka bridge, Tehsil Raiwind, District Lahore, Pakistan. He had led the police team to a location, where he had hidden his AK-47 rifle, 5 magazines, grenades and a host of warlike equipment’s, which were recovered, NIA said.
Bahadur Ali further disclosed that he was part of a big group of terrorists who have been infiltrated into India by LeT. He stated that a group of four terrorists are also moving in the area to execute an attack in village Monibal, NIA said.
Based on this input, security forces carried out an operation on July 26 and all the four terrorists were killed. Police recovered six wireless (RT) sets, four AK-47 rifles, four compass, maps, matrix sheets, grenades and other military equipment from them.