Major Terror Attack Averted Ahead Of Republic Day, Say J&K Police

A major attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group has been averted in Srinagar ahead of Republic Day, Srinagar police said on Thursday.

Authorities said they have arrested five terror suspects in this connection and recovered a major haul of explosives from their possession. The suspects were identified as Aijaz Ahmed Sheikh, Umar Hameed Sheikh, Imtiyaz Ahmed Chikla, Sahil Farooq Gojri and Naseer Ahmed Mir, all residents of Hazratbal. Small arms, walkie talkies, a body vest strapped with bombs and ball bearings (presumably for a suicide attack), besides items such as detonators, gelatin sticks and nitric acid bottles that go into the preparation of explosives, were recovered from the four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists.

Police said they were also found to be responsible for two grenade attacks in Hazratbal area recently.

The terror plot came to light at a time when the Jammu and Kashmir government is in the process of lifting restrictions put in place in the Valley since August 5, when the centre had scrapped the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into two union territories. While the administration says that it is gradually restoring Internet connectivity in the region, several opposition politicians placed under detention back then have already been released. Last Friday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice NV Ramana said that Internet connectivity was a “fundamental right” of the people and ordered the union territory administration to review all curbs that have been in place for over 160 days. The latter’s counsel, however, claimed that factors such as cross-border infiltration, terrorism and the law-and-order situation would make such a move inadvisable. Today’s arrests could bolster the government’s claim to keep some of the curbs in place.

Kashmir Zone police had arrested Jahangir Parray, a resident of Awantipora, on charges of “actively assisting” members of the Hizbul Mujahideen yesterday. A few days ago, a top district commander of the terror outfit was gunned down in a face-off at Tantna village in Kashmir’s Doda district. Police said that the man, identified as Haroon Abbas, was part of a group of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists involved in the killing of Jammu BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit in 2018.