3 Pakistan-based handlers among 5 charged for Rajouri terror attack

Srinagar, Feb 26 (IANS): The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a charge sheet against three Pakistan-based handlers and two others in a court for the Rajouri terror attack.

"Pushing ahead with its efforts to destroy and dismantle the terrorist ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir, NIA on Monday charge-sheeted five accused including three absconding Pakistan-based handlers of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, in the Rajouri attack case of January 2023.

The case RC-01 & 02/2023/NIA/JMU, relates to a heinous terror attack on civilians at village Dhangri, District Rajouri on January 1, 2023 followed by an IED blast the next day," an official said, adding that seven innocent people including two children were killed and several others severely injured in the attacks.

"Three of chargesheeted individuals are LeT handlers, identified as Saifullah alias Sajid Jutt alias Ali, Muhammad 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 terrorist ranks there, officials said.

These three had orchestrated the recruitment and dispatch of LeT terrorists 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, they said.

"Saifullah @ Sajid Jutt is currently a highly-placed LeT commander and was responsible for engineering the overall conspiracy from Pakistan along with the other two. Muhammad 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," an official said.

"The other two charge-sheeted accused are Nisar Ahmed alias Haji Nisar and Mushtaq Hussain alias Chacha, both Overground workers (OGWs) of the LeT and residents of Mohra, Gursai, tehsil Mendhar, Poonch district.

"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 terrorists 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 terrorists for approximately three months following the attack in Dhangri," an official said, adding that they had also attempted to conceal evidence by destroying the mobile phone used for clandestine communication with the Pakistan-based LeT commanders.

Nisar had also received 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 Abu Qatal during the latter’s stay in India and remained in touch with Abu Qatal even after the latter’s return to Pakistan, the official said.

"In the chargesheet filed today, the two arrested adult accused and the Pakistan-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," the official said.


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Title: 3 Pakistan-based handlers among 5 charged for Rajouri terror attack

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