A suspected militant was killed and another captured days after the Indian Army launched a search operation following an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army said in a statement on Tuesday that six militants, belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had attempted to infiltrate Uri town in Baramulla district on the night of September 18. Army personnel had intercepted the infiltration attempt after which four of them returned to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir while two managed to successfully cross over.
The search operation coincided with the fifth anniversary of the attack in Uri in 2016 in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed.
In the statement, the Army said they located the two militants who had crossed over on the night of September 25. The next day, the Army killed 33-year-old Atiq ur Rehman alias Qari Anas, a resident of Pakistan’s Attock district, the statement said.
Another militant, Ali Babar Patra, a resident of Pakistan’s Okara district, was captured after the Army appealed to him to surrender, it said.
“The route taken by the terrorists to infiltrate was from Sawai Nala Terrorist Camp to Hallan Shumali Launch pad to Jabri, leading into Salamabad Nala,” the Army said. “It is pertinent to mention here that, it was along Salamabad Nala through which terrorists infiltrated in 2016 with the help of Pakistan Army and carried out suicide attack on Uri Garrison.”
The Army said the surrendered militant revealed that all the militants belonged to the Punjab province in Pakistan. The others have been identified as 24-year-old Tayyab, 22-year-old Abu Bakkar Salfi, 35-year-old Abu Khitab and 27-year-old Usman alias Abu Slaria.
Patra claimed that he was misguided into joining the Lashkar-e-Taiba as his family was poor and he had lost his father at an early age, the Army statement said.
“To escape poverty, the individual [Patra] left schooling from government school after Class seven,” the statement said. “He underwent three weeks of preliminary training at the Garhi Habibullah Camp in 2019 followed by refresher training in 2021. Most of the instructors being employed for physical and weapons training were Pakistan Army personnel.”
“The false and fake narratives of “Islam being in danger” and perceived killing including the atrocities being committed against the Muslims in Kashmir was the main theme of indoctrination during the training,” the Army claimed.
The surrendered militant told the Army that Rehman had given him Rs 20,000 for his mother’s treatment and had promised an additional sum of Rs 30,000 upon his return, the statement said.
The Army said that Patra may have possibly joined the militant ranks due to his poor financial conditions but his surrender after Rehman was killed highlighted that he was not convinced about the Jihad narrative.
“Kashmir Valley is returning to peace, much to the discomfort of Pakistan and its proxies,” the statement said. “The infiltration bids indicate Pakistan’s desperate attempts to sustain cross border terrorism and bring in weapons to orchestrate violent incidents in the valley by hiring mercenaries from Pakistani hinterland of Punjab.”
The Army also said that seven militants have been killed and one has been arrested since last week.
Meanwhile, the Srinagar police said on Tuesday that they have arrested two overground workers in Pulwama district.
The police said that upon interrogation, the workers revealed that a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander identified as Riyaz Sathrgund had instructed them to build a hideout in Rajourikadal area of Srinagar.
“Upon this, a CASO [cordon and search operation] was launched along with CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force] and the hideout was discovered,” the police said. “However it was empty and the owner of the house is being questioned. Further investigation is going on.”