Six militants, including a PhD scholar, have been arrested in connection with an attack on a Central Reserve Police Force vehicle along the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Banihal on March 30, PTI reported quoting police.
The CRPF vehicle was slightly damaged but there were no casualties when a civilian car exploded near the convoy in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on March 30.
Jammu Inspector General of Police MK Sinha identified the five arrested militants as PhD scholar Hilal Ahmad Mantoo, Waseem alias Doctor, Umar Shafi, Aqib Shah from Shopian and Shahid Wani alias Watson of Pulwama. The sixth person, Owais Amin, was arrested on March 31 when he was trying to return to the Valley. A letter recovered from the scene had identified Amin as a militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen group.
Mantoo is allegedly a member of Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami group. He was arrested from Central University Bathinda in Punjab. Two among the arrested are undergraduates, reported The Indian Express. Sinha said that the three students were selected because they had clean records and were not on the police’s radar.
Sinha said the failed attack was jointly planned by Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen under the command of a Pakistani terrorist, Munna Bihari. “Two modules of Hizbul Mujahideen, one led by Dr Saifullah of Pulwama and the other led by Rayees Khan alias Imad Khan of Shopian had jointly worked to fabricate the car bomb and to take other steps for the explosion,” Sinha added. Another JeM militant Shah Jahan was also involved. But the identity of the person who directed them to carry out the attack was not yet known.
The National Investigation agency will take over the case on Tuesday, Sinha said.
The police, however, ruled out any connection between the February 14 Pulwama car bomb attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel and the Banihal attack. The Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.