Arrest of security agency ‘source’ for fidayeen attack raises serious questions

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Bereaved family members of CRPF jawan Perumal, killed in the encounter in Srinagar on Wednesday, at his native village near Madurai on Friday. PTI Photo

Investigators of deadly Kashmir attack, that left five paramilitary personnel including two suicide attackers dead three days ago, have allegedly found role of a security agencies informer and government employee identified as Pradeep Singh in the episode. 

On March 13, two militants of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen disguised as cricketers stormed a paramilitary soldier’s camp near a police school in Srinagar’s Bemina locality killing five troops in a major suicide attack. The Central government had linked the attack to Pakistan, but the latter denied the allegations. 

Immediately after the attack, the Jammu and Kashmir Police zeroed on a close by locality, Chattabal, where it seized two person namely Bashir aka Haroon and Zubair alias Abu Talha. 

According to police sources, ex-militant Bashir has allegedly been “a source for some security agencies” and has allegedly helped Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants launch the audacious Bemina attack. This, however, raises a serious question which is how someone working for various security agencies including the state police could abet an attack on the troops.

Bashir has allegedly told interrogators that a group of five LeT militants had entered Kashmir from Pakistan to launch a “revenge attack” on India in Kashmir following former Kashmir rebel, Afzal Guru’s hanging and burial in New Delhi on February 9. All this, investigators have found, happened a month ago. 

Bashir, who is from Uri, stays in Srinagar and had arranged the travel of the three militants to Tangmarg area of North Kashmir where all of them met on March 11. 

In facilitation, one Sikh resident of Kanispora area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla named Pradeep Singh, who is a daily wager with Public Health Department of J&K government helped in sheltering the four before the attack was launched, Bashir’s interrogation has allegedly revealed. 

But on Saturday Singh’s wife Harmeet Kour told media that her husband was “forced” on gunpoint to keep the militants in a hut and had no “role in the attacks.”

“My husband isn’t involved in the attack. He was forced to accommodate them,” she said. 

Investigators claim to have found that Bashir had already done the recce of the area and briefed the militants about how and where to attack. 

His interrogation has revealed that it was he who dropped both the militants outside the CRPF camp in Bemina besides sheltering the third militant Zubair aka Abu Talha in Chattabal. 

The Pakistani militant, interrogators have found, is resident of 104 Chak Multan and his training camp in charge was Siaf-ur-Rehman. Talha, according to the interrogation report was launched and received by Hizbul Mujahideen but belongs to LeT. 

“He was launched from LEEPA launch pad and is aged 22 to 24,” police sources say. 

How the group of five militants managed to cross over the Line of Control (LoC) is a question both the army and the state police are clueless about. Since the investigators have found that Bashir was an informer for some security agencies including the J&K police, it also pushes one to think whether LeT and Hizbul have infiltrated into the ranks of these agencies.

It’ll be also interesting, however, to see if both Bashir and Talha are presented before media in the coming days and whether they’ll admit to whatever investigators claim they’ve been told by the duo. 

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Principal Correspondent

Baba Umar’s career started with The Indian Express in Srinagar where he reported on the South Asia earthquake of 2005. In the following years, he wrote features for Kashmir’s first online news magazine Kashmir Newz and in 2008 he joined Rising Kashmir as a senior reporter where he covered 2008-09-10 civil unrest. Baba specializes in producing stories mostly on Kashmir conflict and water disputes in India. Baba joined Tehelka in 2010 and the next year saw him winning ICRC (Geneva)-Press Institute of India (PII) award for his news report on victims of armed conflict in Kashmir.

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