NIA files charge sheet against 5 LeT operatives in Rajouri terror attack case

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Jammu: The National Investigation Agency on Monday filed a charge sheet against five Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, including three Pakistan-based handlers of the banned outfit, in connection with an attack on civilians in Rajouri district last year.

The final report against a juvenile who was also apprehended in the case will be submitted to the Juvenile Justice Board in Rajouri, a spokesperson of the federal agency said.

Seven people belonging to the minority community were killed and several others injured when terrorists attacked Dhangri village in Rajouri on January 1. While five civilians were killed in firing by terrorists, two lost their lives in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast the next day.

The charge sheet against three Pakistan-based LeT handlers, including two top commanders of the proscribed outfit, and two arrested ‘over ground workers’ was filed before a special NIA court under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The spokesman identified the accused as LeT handlers Saifullah alias Sajid Jutt alias Ali alias Habibullah alias Numan alias Langda alias Noumi, Mohd Qasim and Abu Qatal alias Qatal Sindhi and Nisar Ahmed alias Haji Nisar and Mushtaq Hussain alias Chacha, both residents of Gursai village in Poonch.

“While Saifullah and Qatal are Pakistani nationals, Qasim exfiltrated to Pakistan sometime around 2002 and joined the LeT terrorist ranks there,” the spokesperson said.

The NIA said the three Pakistan-based handlers had orchestrated the recruitment and dispatch of LeT terrorists from across the border to target innocent civilians, particularly from the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as security personnel.

“The attacks were carried out under the directions of these Pakistan-based handlers. Saifullah is currently a highly placed LeT Commander who was responsible for engineering the overall conspiracy from Pakistan, along with the other two. Qasim is currently the right hand of highly placed LeT commanders,” the official said.

The spokesperson added that Qatal had come to India in 2002-03 and was active in the Poonch-Rajouri range. The NIA said investigations revealed that the two arrested ‘overground workers’ had provided logistical support to the terrorists on the directions of Qatal.

“Along with a juvenile, who was also apprehended for aiding and abetting the perpetrators, they had provided food, shelter and other types of logistic support to the terrorists 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 spokesperson said.

The official said Nisar received the consignment of arms, ammunition and cash sent by the Pakistan-based handlers for the terrorists.

“Investigations have revealed that Nisar had come in contact with Qatal during the latter’s stay in India. He remained in touch with him even after the Qatal’s return to Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

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