One of the suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants caught in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district on Sunday was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported The Indian Express.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have identified the suspected militants as Talib Hussain Shah, a resident of Draj village in Rajouri, and Faizal Ahmed Dar from Pulwama. They were captured by the residents of Tuksan Dhok village.
The police said two rifles, seven grenades, a pistol and ammunition were seized from Shah and Dar.
Soon after they were caught, it came to light that Shah was the head of the Information Technology and Social Media Cell of BJP’s Minority Morcha in Jammu province.
Shah was appointed to the post on May 9, according to an order issued by BJP’s Minority Morcha Jammu and Kashmir unit, reported NDTV. He also has several pictures with senior BJP leaders, including Jammu and Kashmir party chief Ravindra Raina, according to the news channel.
Sheikh Bashir, the president of BJP Minority Morcha Jammu and Kashmir unit, told The Indian Express that Shah never attended the organisation’s meetings. Bashir added that Shah quit the role as well as the organisation on May 27.
Raina said that Shah was “never even a primary member” of the BJP. On his photos with the suspected militant, Raina claimed that Shah’s Facebook page to be part of “a tactic by terror groups to show themselves as party workers so as to have access to party leaders and attack them at the first opportunity”.
BJP president RS Pathania claimed that Shah’s arrest revealed a new method being used by militants of entering the party fold and conducting reconnaissance. He claimed that there has been a plot to kill the party leadership but it was busted by the police.
“Across the border, there are those who want to spread terror,” Pathania added. “Now anyone can become a member of the BJP online. I’d say this is a drawback since there is no system to check the criminal record or antecedents of the people who are taking membership online.”
Additional Director General of Police (Jammu) Mukesh Singh told NDTV that Shah was on the force’s radar for one and a half months.
“We suspected his involvement in a sticky bomb attack at Kotranka and also the killing of a civilian,” Singh said. “He had used the same weapon for the killing which was recovered today [Sunday].”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for capturing Shah and Dar.
The incident came two days after India Today accessed pictures showing Mohammed Riyaz Attari, one of the accused persons in the killing of a tailor in Udaipur, with BJP leaders.
Riyaz and co-accused Ghouse Mohammed were arrested on June 29, a day after they killed the tailor, Kanhaiya Lal. A video showed both the men claiming responsibility for the crime as they brandish the cleavers used in the murder. They claimed they had killed Lal for supporting the disparaging comments about Prophet Muhammad made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.