A terrorist from Pakistan was captured Wednesday after an attack on a BSF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur. The second terrorist involved in the attack, which left two BSF personnel dead and 10 injured, was shot dead in retaliatory fire.
The terrorist, who appeared to be barely out of his teens, was overpowered and turned over to securitymen by the men he took hostage while looking for an escape route.
He told his captors he was from Faisalabad in Pakistan. He first said his name was Qasim Khan but later changed it to Usman and then Mohammed Naved. He identified his dead colleague as Noman alias Nomi from Bahawalpur.
Sources said during questioning, he said he was the son of Mohammed Yakub of Ghulam Muhammadabad in Faisalabad, that he had two brothers and a sister. One of his brothers, the sources quoted him as saying, was in the hosiery business while the second was a lecturer at a government college.
The attack, the first in Udhampur in a decade, came a week after the terror strike in Dinanagar, Gurdaspur by three Pakistanis who killed seven persons, including a Superintendent of Police, before being gunned down.
The two BSF personnel killed in the attack were identified as Constable Rocky of Ramgarh Majra in Yamunanagar district of Haryana and Constable Subhendu Roy of Daukimari in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.
J&K Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar said he will not comment on the terrorists till the questioning of the captured man is over.
“We cannot say anything about their identity, place of origin or the route adopted by them to reach Udhampur until his statements are corroborated with facts as he may be trying to mislead police,” the DGP said, adding that both terrorists may be part of a larger group which had sneaked into the region.
Police sources said both terrorists were either from the Lashkar-e-Toiba, which was behind terror attacks on police stations and army camps in Samba and Kathua districts, or the Jaish-e-Mohammed which is active in Bahawalpur and Faisalabad.
Sources said the captured terrorist was making conflicting claims. He told villagers who captured him that he had crossed the Line of Control in Poonch, and that he had been moving around in the Jammu region for 12 days. But during questioning by police, sources said, he claimed he was part of a group of four which infiltrated via Kupwara district in north Kashmir 12 days before Ramzan — in the first week of June — and had been hiding in the Kashmir Valley.
Police are questioning the drivers and cleaners of two trucks parked at the site of the attack because they suspect that the terrorists may have hitched a ride in one of them. Eyewitnesses have told police that the two terrorists emerged from behind one of the two trucks parked by the roadside.
Ramesh Singh, driver of one of the trucks, said they were returning to Jammu after unloading wheat at a flour mill in Awantipora area of Anantnag district. “We reached here in the morning and parked the trucks by the roadside. We had gone to a nearby nullah and were returning when we heard gun shots,” he said.
A local shopkeeper said the terrorists appeared from behind a truck shortly before 7 am and one of them stood in the middle of the road and opened fire at an approaching BSF bus. As one of the tyres of the bus deflated, the terrorist ran towards the vehicle.
Village defence committee members, positioned on a nearby hilltop, and a CRPF patrol spotted the terrorist and opened fire, killing him. Police and army troops from Udhampur and Chenani, meanwhile, rushed to the attack site.
The other terrorist threw a grenade towards the bus and fled towards Narsu village. He went to the house of one Rakesh Kumar and took him hostage along with his brother-in-law Vikram. He told them to show him a way out of the area.
As the trio headed towards Natha Top, they ran into two labourers, Desraj and Babloo, and the terrorist took them hostage as well. After walking some distance, Desraj and Babloo managed to flee. The other two then grappled with the terrorist and overpowered him. He was handed over to a police team which had been chasing them.
Two assault rifles, ammunition and hand grenades have been recovered and police were combing the area.
The army has floated helpline numbers for general public seeking information about fleeing terrorists. The numbers are: 01992-243294; 9467800234; 9419166790
— With ENS in New Delhi