BY ANAND SINGH
New Delhi/Jammu, Aug 26 (IANS) Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists had asked their handlers in Pakistan to prepare videos of the Pulwama terror attack that showed mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers to motivate Kashmiri youths to join militant ranks against India.
The Jem commanders had also planned another Pulwama-like attack on a security convoy in March 2019 as well and even identified the ‘fidayeen’ (suicide bomber) and made other logistical arrangements but shelved the plan after the Balakot air strikes on February 26, 2019.
The revelations were made in a 13,800-page charge sheet filed in a Special NIA court in Jammu against 19 persons, including JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brothers Abdul Rauf Asghar and Ammar Alvi, slain terrorist Mohammad Umar Farooq (son of IC 814 flight hijacking conspirator Ibrahim Athar).
A top National Investigation Agency officer related to the probe told IANS: “Farooq, who had infiltrated India in April 2018 and was involved in the Pulwama attack conspiracy, had asked his handlers in Pakistan to prepare video clips of mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers to motivate Kashmiri youths by dubbing the suicide bomber as ‘shaheed’ or martyr.”
The official said that the JeM terrorists also wanted to make an audio-video clip on suicide bomber Aadil Ahmed Dar, who rammed the explosive-laden car into a security convoy bus on February 14 in 2019, in Kashmiri language to motivate the youths in the Valley.
The messages were shared in the form of audio clips through WhatsApp used on Pakistani SIM cards, which Farooq used after his ingress into India.
“However, this plan was shelved due to the Balakot air strikes as they were told to lie low,” the official said.
The official said that it is all part of the charge sheet filed by the anti-terror probe agency in the court.
The February 14 suicide attack on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at Lethpora in Pulwama district had led to the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and the attacker.
Another NIA official pointed out that the JeM terrorists were well aware of the support for another terrorist Burhan Wani, whose killing in an encounter with the Indian security forces on July 8, 2016 triggered protests and stone-pelting in the then state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The official said that the JeM commanders in Pakistan wanted to pitch Aadil also as a martyr like Wani to gain support of the Kashmiri youths.
The charge sheet claimed that Rs 5.7 lakh was spend for the Pulwama attack, which was revealed in a chat between Farooq and a JeM handler in Pakistan. A copy of the chat is in possession of IANS.
The NIA charge sheet claimed that Masood Azhar’s brother Asgar also asked Farooq about the movement of fighter jets in Kashmir after the Balakot strikes.
“Farooq was discussing with his associates that there should be a war between India and Pakistan so that those waiting to infiltrate at the border can be pushed into India,” the charge sheet added.
The officer said that the NIA also took the help of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States in the initial days of its investigation to check the statement of JeM spokesperson Ahmed Hussain, who had texted a message to a Kashmiri newspaper to take responsibility of the attack.
The official said: “The FBI helped track the Indian mobile phone number used from Pakistan’s Muzaffarabad to a Kashmiri newspaper Editor in Srinagar for the responsibility of Pulwama terror attack.”
The charge sheet also revealed that the three Pakistani JeM terrorists who had infiltrated from Pakistan most of the time didn’t stay together for fear of scuttling of their plans in case of an encounter with Indian security forces.
“They coordinated with each other from time to time and discussed preparations for the attack,” the charge sheet added.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)