Srinagar, August 10: More than six suspects has been arrested so far by National Investigation Agency (NIA) while investigating the attack on BSF convoy last week.
Muhammad Naveed, alias Usman, a Pakistani national who was captured soon after the Udhampur attack, has revealed to his interrogators about Abu Qasim being the mastermind of the attack. The search to apprehend this Pakistani National is going on full swing but he has escaped even mere detection on the intelligence radar so far.
It’s also believed, sources say, that Qasim was also present in Udhampur when Naveed was captured.
In the year 2010, this Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT’s) divisional commander Abu Qasim was alleged to carry out attack in Hyderpora area of Srinagar, where he killed eight Army men and injured 10 others.
Ever Since the police has remain unsucessful in nabbing him and now Naveed’s revelations have given a new impetus to the hunt. According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range, Javaid Geelani, it’s unclear how and when Qasim crossed over from Pakistan. “However he has been active in Kashmir since at least 2010, when he carried out the Hyderpora attack,” said Geelani, while talking to The Tribune.
The IGP believes that Qasim, to begin with, operated from in and around Srinagar up till at least 2011. Ever since, Qasim has been involved in a number of attacks, including the attack on a BSF convoy in the Pampore area of Pulwama, injuring at least eight border guards.
If sources to be believed then Abu Qasim has so far escaped at least three cordons laid to nab him which is proving to be a headache for the intelligence agencies. Agencies are of the opinion that not more than 20 youths, including locals and foreign nationals, are part of the LeT cadre in south Kashmir. High-level sources in the police believe that neutralising or arresting Qasim will be a blow large enough for the LeT to vanish altogether from south Kashmir.
Reliable sources, in police and otherwise, say that Qasim moves around alone, unarmed and drives himself.
“We have inputs that it’s only a couple of guys within the ranks that Qasim moves around with. His deputy Abu Dojana, also a Pakistani national, is one of his most trusted guys,” says a source.
The police recently circulated posters announcing a bounty on Qasim’s head. A picture of Qasim was used for the posters but inside sources told The Tribune that the intelligence agencies are not sure whether the picture actually is of Qasim.
Pulwama SSP Tejinder Singh, however, says “We have no reason to believe that the picture is not of Qasim,” Singh adds that Qasim will be neutralised sooner than later”.