Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit was behind the twin blasts on September 28 and 29 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur, which were carried out ahead of the high-profile visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to convey “all is not well ” in the union territory, DGP Dilbag Singh said on Sunday. He said the case was cracked in three days with the arrest of a “recycled” terrorist with five more IEDs in his possession, including three ready-to-use sticky bombs.
“Two blasts took place in Udhampur. I am happy to tell you that the blast case has been worked out by the Udhampur police and the culprit has been arrested. The accused has confessed to his involvement,” DGP Dilbag Singh said.
He added, “Pakistan is an enemy of development and a lover of destruction.” That is what they have done over the last 30 years. They don’t like any development to happen. Definitely Pakistan and its agencies have been ensuring that the Valley remains not in peace but in turmoil. Now, things are better and improving with each passing day,” the DGP told reporters, flanked by Jammu ADG Mukesh Singh and other senior police officers from Udhampur district.
Mukesh Singh said in the last six months, it has been observed that terror outfits were reviving old contacts to carry out terror attacks. He said a terrorist settled in Pakistan revived his contacts with the accused, identified as Aslam Shiekh.
“The Pakistan handler contacted Aslam through social media apps and told him about the drone dropping in the Dyala Chak area. He told him that three sticky bombs and four different types of IEDs had been sent and he must carry out an IED attack as a high-profile visit was going to take place,” the ADG said.
According to police, Aslam activated two IEDs in Ramnagar and deployed one on the bus in which he arrived and the other one in another bus. Instructions had been passed onto him from Pakistan on how to set the timers, police added.
Dilbag Singh said whenever there was a high-profile visit, terrorists became desperate to launch an attack. “There is a drastic change in the overall security situation in J&K as borne out by facts and not based on mere claims a very large number of successful operations have been conducted. We have tried to keep our people and their properties safe during the counter-terrorist operations,” he said.
Dilbag Singh said the forces had the people’s support in the UT, and the security scenario in the region was relatively better now than what it was four years ago. “Therefore, to sabotage the VIP visit or any such activity that sends a positive message to the people, the terrorists and their handlers across the border try to show that all is not well. There are still some terrorists left and our operations are on and we will be able to take care of them,” he added.
Home minister Amit Shah’s visit to the region is starting on October 4. Mukesh Singh said police had also busted a module of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Kathua district by arresting one of its members with a sticky bomb.
In the twin blast incident, two buses were blown up within a span of eight hours on September 28 and 29 at a time when the security forces were put on high alert across the UT in view of Shah’s visit. Two people were injured in the first blast that took place in a bus near a petrol pump at Domail Chowk at around 10.30 pm on September 28. There was no casualty in the second explosion, which also ripped through a stationary bus at the old bus stand in Udhampur at around 5.30 am the next morning.
Udhampur Police had picked up five people for questioning following the blasts and Aslam was one of them, who confessed to being involved in the blasts and led the police to the recovery of five more IEDs and sticky bombs.
What is a ‘recycled’ terrorist?
The DGP said Aslam was an active terrorist in 2005 and was arrested in a case lodged in Billawar. He was recently released and contacted by the Pakistan-based terrorist. He said they were keeping a close watch on the activities of former terrorists released from jails amid attempts by Pakistan-based handlers to recycle them into terrorism.
“This (recycling of former terrorists) is not a problem related to the Jammu province alone. There are numerous examples where such terrorists (after their release from jails) became active again for a second time, a third time or even a fourth time in the valley, but most of them stand eliminated,” the police chief said, adding that such elements who were active terrorists at some point of time and are now released from jails after serving their sentences were being tracked.
“We are keeping a close eye on their activities and will definitely take action if they are found involved (in terror activities again),” he said, replying to a question about attempts from Pakistan to rope in former terrorists to carry out terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir.
Aslam is also a recycled terrorist and was arrested for his involvement in the twin bomb blasts. He was working at the head of LeT and received a consignment of five IEDs dropped through a drone near the international border. Dilbag Singh said most of the Pakistani terrorist handlers have operated in Jammu and Kashmir and have an old association with the ultras in jail or outside, and try to establish contact with them.
“In this (Udhampur twin blast) case, the same thing happened. It is easy to identify them because they have a terrorist background. Contrary to it, we have hybrid terrorists who hardly have any record of terror-related incidents. They become terrorists only after their first activity,” the DGP said.
(With PTI inputs)