The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday confirmed that the four Jaish-e-Mohammed militants killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nagrota area earlier this week were planning to disrupt the District Development Council elections, scheduled to begin in the Union Territory from November 28.
The foreign ministry said that it had conveyed “serious concerns” to Pakistan about the terror group continuing its attacks against India. “JeM has been part of several attacks in India in the past, including the Pulwama attack in February 2019,” MEA said in a statement.
It added: “The huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosive material indicate detailed planning for a major attack to destabilise the peace and security in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular, to derail the ongoing democratic exercise of conduct of local District Development Council elections.”
The foreign ministry said it had conveyed its “strong protest” to the charge d’affaires of the Pakistan High Commission, who was summoned by the ministry earlier in the day. The MEA again demanded that Pakistan stop supporting terror groups. “India reiterated its long standing demand that Pakistan fulfil its international obligations and bilateral commitments to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner,” MEA added.
The developments came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and other officials about the gunfight.
Modi said later that Indian security forces had thwarted a terror attack by eliminating militants from the Pakistan-based terror group.
The gunfight on Thursday reportedly began when the militants threw a grenade at security personnel during checking at a toll plaza around 5 am, and they retaliated. The police had recovered 11 AK-47 rifles, three pistols, 29 grenades and other devices. Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone.
Reports citing government officials had said that the suspected militants were planning an attack on the anniversary of the November 26 Mumbai attacks. At least 166 people were killed in the attacks, that began on November 26, 2008, in various parts of South Mumbai, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus station, the Taj Mahal Hotel and Chabad House.
Jammu and Kashmir will hold the first-ever District Development Council elections in eight phases from November 28. The elections to fill up vacant seats of sarpanchs and panchs and Urban Local Bodies will also be held simultaneously.