Jammu & Kashmir

Rajouri attack: Charge sheet against 5 including 3 LeT handlers, says NIA

Armed forces personnel patrol near military operation site in JK. [FPK File Photo]

Rajouri: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a charge sheet against five accused, including three absconding Pakistan-based handlers of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, in the Rajouri attacks case of January 2023.

In a statement, the agency said that the case RC-01 & 02/2023/NIA/JMU, relates to a militant attack on civilians at village Dhangri on January 01, 2023, followed by an IED blast the next day. “Seven innocent people, including two children, were killed and several others severely injured in the attacks,” the statement said.

The statement reads that three of the men are LeT handlers, identified as Saifullah @ Sajid Jutt @ Ali @ Habibullah @ Numan @ Langda @ Noumi, Mohd Qasim, and Abu Qatal @ Qatal Sindhi. While Abu Qatal and Sajit Jutt are Pakistani nationals, Qasim had exfiltrated to Pakistan sometime around 2002 and had joined the LeT ranks there.

“As per investigations, the trio had orchestrated the recruitment and dispatch of LeT militants from Pakistan to target innocent civilians, particularly from the minority community in Jammu & Kashmir, as well as security personnel. The attacks were carried out under the directions of these Pakistan-based handlers,” it reads.

It added that Saifullah is currently a highly placed LeT commander, and was responsible for engineering the overall conspiracy from Pakistan, along with the other two. “Mohd Qasim is presently the right hand of highly placed LeT Commanders. Abu Qatal had come to India in 2002-03 and was active in the Poonch-Rajouri range, along with other terrorists.”

It reads that the other two charge-sheeted accused are Nisar Ahmed @ Haji Nisar and Mushtaq Hussain @ Chacha, both Overground workers (OGWs) of the LeT and are residents of Mohra, Gursai, Tehsil Mendhar, District Poonch. The duo was arrested during the course of the investigations by the NIA.

“It was found during investigations that they had provided logistical support to the militants on the directions of Abu Qatal. Along with a juvenile, who was also apprehended for aiding and abetting the perpetrators, they had provided food, shelter, and other types of logistics support to the militants for approximately three months following the attack in Dhangri. They had also attempted to conceal evidence by destroying the mobile phone used for clandestine communication with the Pakistan-based LeT commanders.”

The statement added that Nisar had also received consignment of arms, ammunition and cash sent by the Pakistan based handlers for the militants. “Investigations have revealed that Nisar had come in contact with Abu Qatal during the latter’s stay in India. He had remained in touch with Abu Qatal even after the latter’s return to Pakistan.”

It added that the two arrested adult accused and the Pak-based handlers have been charged under UA(P) Act and various sections of IPC.

“The final report against the apprehended juvenile will be submitted to the Juvenile Justice Board Rajouri in due course.”

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