Jaish-e-Mohammed commander, Nisar Ahmed Tantray, deported from the UAE to India last Sunday, has disclosed that he knew about the February 14 Pulwama suicide car bombing because the key conspirator, Mudassir Khan, had asked him to participate in a “spectacular” attack being planned at the instructions of JeM’s leadership in Pakistan, an official involved in Tantray’s interrogation said.
This is the first confirmation from a JeM commander that the Pulwama attack was carried out on the orders of the outfit’s leadership, and that Khan was the person who executed it. Until now, Indian investigative agencies were depending on intelligence inputs and the questioning of some lower-level JeM militants.
Tantray, the brother of slain JeM leader Noor Ahmed Tantray, fled from India on February 1 this year.
According to an intelligence bureau officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, he has significant influence over JeM cadres in Kashmir valley, particularly after he planned the December 30, 2017 attack on a CRPF Group Camp in Lethpora.
Tantray has told interrogators that Khan called him using a social media app and informed about the plan to hit a convoy in mid-February with heavy explosives somewhere in Pulwama.
Khan asked for Tantray’s help in the logistics, planning and execution of the bomb blast . Tantray was a senior commander of JeM in the Valley and cadres, who were part of the operation, would be motivated with his presence, a NIA officer said on condition of anonymity.
Although Tantray has denied any involvement in the Pulwama attack, where a suicide bomber blew up a CRPF convoy, killing 40, and which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war (he says he was in Dubai at the time), the NIA is not taking his word for it.“Nisar Tantray is a senior JeM operative in Kashmir. Commanders at his level are aware of all the plans, particularly for a Pulwama type attack which would have taken months of planning. We are further interrogating him about his role because the timing of his flight to UAE is suspicious. He might have taken active part in the Pulwama attack and fled two weeks before February 14 to avoid capture”, the NIA officer added.