A day after a terrorist was captured in Udhampur following an attack in which two BSF men were killed, the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the probe to the National Investigation Agency Thursday.
Police and intelligence sources involved in the questioning of Muhammad Naveed, the alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist who was captured, said he had undergone three months of indoctrination and combat training at the Lashkar’s Markaz Taiba camp in Mansehra — the same facility where 26/11’s Ajmal Kasab was prepared for war — and was sent across the Line of Control this April.
Naveed was to serve with the organisation’s South Kashmir commander who operates using the code name Qasim Khan, sources said.
He was pushed across the LoC through the Baba Reishi area of Tangmarg. He then hid out in Lashkar facilities at Pulwama and Tral, in southern Kashmir, awaiting instructions. Finally, police sources said, he was instructed to attack military convoys on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, and transported to Udhampur in a truck bearing the licence plate number JK13 2587.
Jammu and Kashmir DGP K Rajendra told The Indian Express there was no evidence that Naveed had participated in any prior attack.
Naveed was born in 1995, to the family of Muhammad Yakub, a landless peasant who makes a living working in fields and construction projects in Ghulam Mohammadabad, Faisalabad.
Sources said Naveed told police that he failed to clear the fifth class examinations at a local school, and then did a number of odd jobs in the area, but failed to get regular employment. His father, Naveed told police, often beat him for failing to earn a living, leading him to run away from home.
The youngest of four children, Naveed claims his oldest brother, Muhammad Nabil, works at the Government College University in Faisalabad. Nabil’s phone number was, however, switched off through the day, and an email sent to the institution was not replied to.
Muhammad Salim, Naveed’s other brother, is said to work at a local hosiery factory, while his sister, Faiza, is a homemaker.
In an interview to The Hindustan Times on Thursday afternoon, Muhammad Yakub introduced himself as Naveed’s “unfortunate father”.
“The Lashkar is after us. They probably wanted him dead and not caught alive. Please spare him,” he was quoted as saying.
“Like a lot of the Lashkar rank and file we’ve questioned in the past”, a senior intelligence official said, “Naveed was the family failure. Perhaps the gun gave him a sense of dignity and power that he lacked in his life.”
In early 2014, Naveed told police, he began attending meetings of the Tablighi Jama’at, an ostensibly apolitical proselytizing order that has, however, often served as a stepping stone for many recruits to terrorist groups like the Lashkar. He met a member of the Jama’at-ud-Dawa, the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s parent organisation, at one Tablighi Jama’at religious congregation, and was persuaded to join the organisation.
Following his induction into the Jama’at-ud-Dawa, Naveed has said he underwent the Daura Aam and Daura Khas, the group’s basic and advanced military training courses, in Mansehra in PoK from August to September, 2014.
Lectures and films shown at the camp, claiming Islam was being stamped out in Kashmir, strengthened his determination to fight, Naveed has told police, sources said.
On Thursday, the J&K government accorded sanction to prosecute him under Sections 120 and 121 of the Ranbir Penal Code which provide for death penalty to the accused if the charges levelled are proven.
Police sources also said that the attack on the BSF bus was “just a chance”.
“They were looking for something else and it was a chance that the BSF bus happened to pass from there and they attacked it,” sources said.