Pakistani JeM operatives who infiltrated into India and planned and executed the February 2019 Pulwama attack, which killed 40 CRPF personnel, wanted the strike to precipitate a war between India and Pakistan, according to the NIA.
The attackers believed that a war would throw the anti-infiltration grid of Indian forces out of gear and make it easy for them to push more terrorists into India, the agency has stated in its chargesheet filed in connection with the case.
Sources said the agency has attached evidence in the form of a discussion between various JeM operatives who had entered Kashmir in April 2018 and planned the attack.
“Various voice packets have been retrieved from the phones of slain accused such as Umer Farooq and Mohammed Kamran. They were discussing how the attack could precipitate a war between India and Pakistan and help them in infiltrating more terrorists,” an NIA officer said.
Pulwama chargesheet | WhatsApp logs, voice of Jaish chief kin mark trail in Pakistan, says NIA
Nephew of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Umer Farooq was the main planner of the Pulwama attack, according to NIA. He and four others had crossed over to India using a tunnel in Jammu’s Samba sector, and NIA sources said he carried more than 10 kg RDX, later used in the Pulwama attack.
“The explosives used in the attack were brought in batches,” an NIA officer said.
A source said before they entered India, Umer and the others were asked to plan and execute a big attack. “They chose Pulwama to launch an attack on CRPF convoy,” the officer said. “After they made the initial plan, they were given directions from JeM bosses in Pakistan.”
A senior NIA officer involved with the probe said the planners did not even have to find a fidayeen for the attack. “Adil Ahmed Dar, who drove the bomb-laden car, had offered himself as a fidayeen much before the plan was finalised,” the officer said.
According to this officer, Umer’s cousin Usman Haider, who had entered India earlier, was killed in an encounter with security forces in October 2018. JeM chief Masood Azhar thereafter gave a rousing speech in Pakistan, calling for martyrdom from people in Kashmir.
“This really impacted Adil, who had by then left home – in Kakapora, Pulwama,” the officer said. “He was hobnobbing with JeM operatives. After he heard Azhar’s speech he offered himself as a fidayeen.”
Sources said NIA has found evidence that Farooq and his associates were received by Pulwama resident Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo, who was waiting for them near Bein river in Jammu, and transported them to Kashmir in his truck. The chargesheet, which has arraigned 19 accused, names local residents such as Shakir Bashir Magrey, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmad Shah and Bilal Ahmad Kuchey as providing logistics and harbouring the terrorists at their homes.
The chargesheet states: “From December 2018, Shakir Bashir started doing reconnaissance of movement and deployment of security forces on Jammu-Srinagar highway. Mudasir Ahmad Khan arranged gelatin sticks and handed them over to Shakir…(who) collected the explosive material — RDX, Gelatin sticks, Aluminium power and Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate – and stocked them at his house for making the IED.”
In January 2019, NIA says, Sajjad Bhat purchased a Maruti EECO car for the attack – it was allegedly kept in the frontyard of Shakir’s house. Waiz-Ul-Islam ordered 4 kg aluminum powder from his Amazon account on Mohd Ismail, alias Saifullah’s directions and gave it to to him, the chargesheet says.
In early February 2019, Umar, Sameer Dar, Adil Dar and Shakir Bashir made the IED and assembled them in two containers, one weighing around 160 kg and the other around 40 kg, the chargesheet stated. The IED containers were fitted in the car Maruti EECO and were ready by the morning of February 6, 2019. But due to heavy snowfall the NH was closed to traffic, the chargesheet says.
On February 14, 2019, as the NH opened, Shakir drove Adil up to the highway, after which Adil took charge and carried out the suicide attack, it says.