A Kashmiri man, among three arrested for helping fidayeen launch the 2016 Nagrota Army camp attack, had gone to Pakistan multiple times on visas endorsed by Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Abdul Gani Bhat, NIA has claimed.
Identified as Ashiq Baba, Tariq Ahmed Dar and Muneer-ul-Hassan Qadri, the three Kashmiri men have been accused by the NIA of conducting reconnaissance of the Nagrota camp before the attack, sheltering the fidayeen and helping them launch the attack on November 29, 2016.
In a statement released on Thursday, the NIA has claimed that during interrogation Ashiq Baba revealed that he had gone to Pakistan four times to receive instructions for the attack on visas endorsed by Hurriyat leaders, including Geelani. “…. Ashiq Baba visited Pakistan four times crossing the Wagah border (2015 to 2017) legally. He obtained his visas after getting reference letters from Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Gani Bhat and Maulana Umar Farooq,” the NIA said. During his visits, Baba met top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commanders, who after consulting an ISI agent gave instructions on conducting reconnaissance of the Nagrota camp, receiving fidayeen after infiltration, sheltering them and then transporting them for the attack, NIA claimed.
After the attack, Baba visited Pakistan again during April-May last year and met Abdul Rauf, JeM chief Masood Azhar’s brother, who praised him for his efforts and promised a reward, NIA claimed. “They (Baba and Muneer) were in continuous WhatsApp contact through voice and text with Maulana Mufti Ashghar based in Muzaffarabad whose nephew Waqas (JeM commander in south Kashmir) died recently in an encounter near Pulwama. they were in touch with Qari Zarar (another commander in charge of launching terrorists in Jammu region) based out of Rawalpindi and Waseem and Abu Talha (both in charge of launching terrorists along the Jammu region),” NIA said in a statement.
Baba had an HDFC account which he provided to the JeM commanders on WhatsApp and received “hefty amounts”, the agency said. “Ashiq says that the amount came from Gulf countries,” the NIA statement said. The NIA claimed that around a week before the attack, Baba and Muneer got GPS coordinates of the receiving point along the Samba sector highway as well as of the possible targets along the Nagrota cantonment through WhatsApp from their handlers in Pakistan.
Baba went with Muneer and was joined by Tariq, and they finalised the receiving point and the target, NIA said. The Officers mess complex of 166 Medium Regiment at Nagrota was chosen due to its convenient location. the points were passed on to the JeM commanders in Pakistan. They received a group of three attackers a day before the attack, NIA said. The terrorists travelled in two vehicles to Jammu, concealing their weapons in one of the two cars owned by Tariq and Baba, NIA said.
They parked the car with the weapons at a paid parking slot and then stayed at a hotel in Jammu. Baba took the commander of the attackers, identified as Abu Hisham, to Nagrota to show him the site of the attack, NIA claimed. Baba and his associates dropped the fidayeen near the Nagrota camp later that night.