Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit was behind the recent twin blasts in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur which were carried out ahead of high profile visit of the Union home minister to convey ‘all is not well’ in the Union Territory, DGP Dilbag Singh said on Sunday.
IMAGE: An accused in the Udhampur twin bus blasts case being produced during a press conference, in Jammu, October 2, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo
He said the case was cracked within three days with the arrest of a ‘recycled’ terrorist with five more improvised explosive devices in his possession, including three ready-to-use sticky bombs.
“Pakistan is an enemy of development and a lover of destruction. That is what they have done over the last 30 years. They won’t like any development to happen,” he said.
“Definitely Pakistan and its agencies have been ensuring that the valley remains not in peace but in turmoil. Now the things are better and improving with each passing day,” the DGP told reporters in Jammu.
Flanked by Mukesh Singh, ADG, Jammu, and other senior police officers from Udhampur district, the police chief said whenever there is a high profile visit, terrorists become desperate to launch an attack.
“There is a drastic change in the overall security situation in J&K as borne out by facts and not based on mere claims — a very large number of successful operations have been conducted. We have tried to keep our people and their properties safe during the counter-terrorist operations,” he said.
Singh said the forces have the people’s support in the Union Territory, and the security scenario in region is relatively ‘much better today’ than what prevailed about four years back.
“Therefore, to sabotage the VIP visit or any such activity which sends a positive message to the people, the terrorists and their handlers across the border try to show that all is not well.”
“There are still some terrorists left and our operations are on and we will be able to take care of them,” he said, responding to questions on the Amit Shah’s visit to the region starting October 4.
Mukesh Singh said that the police also busted a module of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Kathua district arresting one of its members with a sticky bomb.
Two buses were blown within a span of eight hours on September 28 and 29 at a time when the security forces were put on high alert across the Union Territory in view of Amit Shah’s visit.
Two people were injured in the first blast that took place in a bus near a petrol pump at Domail Chowk at around 10.30 pm on September 28. There was no casualty in the second explosion which also ripped through a stationary bus at the old bus stand in Udhampur at around 5.30 am the next morning.
The ADGP said LeT terrorist Mohd Amin Bhat alias ‘Khubaib’, a resident of Doda district who is presently operating from Pakistan, had contacted Aslam Sheikh of Basant Garh on September 21 and gave him the task of carrying out the blast ahead of the Union minister’s visit.
“Aslam was contacted through social media by Khubaib, who was also behind another blast in Udhampur on September 21, and told him to pick the drone-dropped consignment in Diyalacheck the night of September 23.
“He picked up the consignment of three sticky bombs and four other types of IEDs and planted two of these IEDs inside the passenger buses while travelling from Basant Garh to Ram Nagar,” he said.
Udhampur Police had picked up five people for questioning following the blasts and Sheikh was one of them, who confessed to being involved in the blasts, and led the police to the recovery of five more IEDs and sticky bombs.
The ADGP identified the arrested JeM operative as Zakir Hussain of Malhar village of Kathua. He said Hussain was in contact one Fareed, a JeM terrorist from Pakistan, who had returned there after serving a jail term in J&K.
He said that over the past six months, police had been observing that the terrorists operating from Pakistan were trying to revive their old contacts to carry out terror attacks in J&K.
“Several such modules have already been busted by police.”
The DGP said Sheikh was an active terrorist in 2005 and was arrested in a case lodged in Billawar. He was recently released and was contacted by Khubaib.
“It is a shameful act that Pro-Pakistan agencies are trying to disturb peace in the Jammu region. Whenever there is a high profile visit, we come across such types of activities. Two JeM fidayeen were eliminated on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last visit in April,” he said.