Pak Militant Nabbed As Terror Strikes J-K Highway

5 August 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray & Deepanker Gupta

Jammu: Terror struck Jammu and Kashmir early on Wednesday when two Pakistan militants targeted a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, near Udhampur, killing two security men and injuring 11 others. One of the terrorists was later gunned down, while the other was captured alive by villagers held hostage during the attack. The security forces launched a search operation to capture two other suspected terrorists who reportedly took refuge in a nearby forest. Traffic on the highway remained suspended for several hours following the attack. The terrorists lobbed grenades and opened fire at the BSF convoy around 7.15 am soon after the Army and Amarnath yatra convoys passed the area. Most of the BSF personnel were unarmed when they came under attack. In retaliatory fire, one of the terrorists was gunned down, while the second, identified as Qasim Khan, alias Usman, alias Mohammad Naveed Khan, from Faisalabad in Pakistan Punjab, escaped with a hostage to a hillock where he took two more hostages at Chirdi village, 5 km from the scene of the encounter at Narsu nullah. He was later captured by security forces with the help of the three hostages and two village defence committee members. The arrest of Qasim, in his early 20s, is being seen as a major victory for the security forces as he is only the second terrorist to have been captured alive during a terror strike after 2008 Mumbai attacks, when Ajmal Kasab was nabbed. Deputy Inspector General (Udhampur-Reasi range) Surinder Kumar Gupta said after attacking the BSF men, the terrorist fled to Chirdi village where he remained holed up with three hostages. 'He was zeroed in at the spot and was captured alive,' said the officer. Narsu nullah, 17 km from Udhampur town - the headquarters of the Northern Command of the Army - has several tea stalls where most Kashmir-bound passengers halt before resuming their journey. The police said the bus was part of a BSF convoy carrying personnel on their way to the Kashmir valley to join their duties. 'Around 25 BSF men were in the bus when they were attacked. A BSF constable was killed on the spot while another died at the Chenani hospital,' said a police officer. Sources told The Tribune that the two terrorists had infiltrated into India along with the group involved in the recent Gurdaspur terror attack and had separated with intent to strike at multiple places. The security forces, however, refused to confirm this. 'We had inputs that more militants had infiltrated along with the Gurdaspur terrorists and had split into groups to strike on the eve of Independence Day. This group seems to be part of that module,' said an intelligence source. The captured militant was taken to Udhampur where he was being interrogated by the police. Infiltrated 12 days ago, claims terrorist Captured terrorist Qasim Khan, alias Usman Khan, alias Muhammad Naveed Khan, has claimed he along with his accomplice Noman, alias Momin, from Bahawalpur in Pakistan, crossed over into India 12 days ago and had been hiding in nearby forests. He said they had come to kill people and take revenge. 'I came here to take revenge and I am doing God's work. This is my only job,' the militant confessed on camera. NSA-level talks on; India awaits response India will go ahead with the NSA-level talks with Pakistan notwithstanding the terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. 'We are still awaiting a response from Islamabad to our proposal to hold the talks between the two NSAs on August 23-24,' an official source said. Mufti condemns attack CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday condemned the killing of two security men and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured in the Udhampur attack.