Kashmir Indepth

NIA files chargesheet against 4 Pulwama locals in Dec 2017 Lethpora Fidayeen attack

Srinagar, Aug 1 : National Investigation Agency on Thursday filed a chargesheet against four local persons in connection with a fidayeen attack on CRPF in which five paramilitary personnel were killed and three others were injured at Lethopra in south Kashmir’s Pulwam district earlier in 2017.

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According to NIA, a group of three heavily armed militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) carried the attack on CRPF Group Centre at Lethpura in the intervening night of 30/31st December, 2017 to avenge the killing of their commander Noor Mohammad Tantray. In the attack, five CRPF personnel were killed and three others got injured. During the ensuing operation, all the three militants were also killed. Initially, a case under FIR number 150/2017 was registered at Awantipora Police station. “Considering the gravity of the case, NIA took over the investigation of the case on 27.02.2018,” an official of the NIA said.

He said the chargesheet has been filed in NIA Special Court, Jammu against four accused namely –Fayaz Ahmad Magray resident of Lethpora, Awantipora, Nisar Ahmad Tantray of Dar Ganaie Gund, Tral, Syed Hilal Andrabi and Irshad Ahmad Reshi, both residents of Ratnipora, Pulwama.

“The sections invoked against the accused are: section 120B read with Sections 121, 121A, 122, 123, 302, 307, 325, 330, 436, 440, 457, 459 and 460 of the Ranbir Penal Code, Sections 07 and 25 of the Arms Act, Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Substances Act, Sections 18, 19, 20, 23 & 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and Section 04 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) Act, 1985,” the NIA said.

During investigation, it said, identity of the three Fidayeen militants was established. The two local militants among the attackers were identified as Fardeen Ahmad Khandey son of Gulam Mohi-ud–din Khandey of Nazneenpora, Tral, Pulwama and Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad of Drubgam, Pulwama , while, the identity of the third Fidayeen was identified as Abdul Shakoor, a resident of Rawalakot, PaK.

“Recce of the CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora was done by Noor Mohd Tantray along with other accused during the second week of December 2017. However, before the attack could be launched, Noor Mohd Tantray was killed in an encounter with security forces,” NIA said in a statement issued here.

“Mufti Waqas, a Pakistani militant of JeM who took over as commander after Noor Mohammad, immediately started planning the execution of attack at CRPF Group centre, Lethpora to retaliate against the killing of Noor Tantray.”

Accused Syed Hilal Andrabi, Irshad Ahmad Reshi, Fayaz Ahmad Magray, Nisar Ahmad Tantray, Mudasir Ahmad Khan and JeM commander Mufti Waqas (Pakistani) played a vital role in the conspiracy, the NIA said. “Mufti Waqas and Mudasir Ahmad Khan were later killed in different encounters with security forces.”

Accused Fayaz Ahmad Magray was an active associate of slain Noor Mohd. “Tantray and he played an active role in planning and execution of this attack. After the attack, in the month of January 2018, the role of Mudasir Ahmad khan who was an OGW of JeM at that time came into knowledge of Police and a raid was conducted at his house.”

 Fayaz Ahmad Magray, the NIA said, immediately facilitated Mudasir Ahmed khan to join the JeM militant ranks as an active militant by arranging weapon through JeM commander Mufti Waqas. He also escorted him and helped him to cross the police check posts while escaping.

The Accused Syed Hilal Andrabi and Irshad Ahmed Reshi facilitated the fidayeen attack by providing shelter, by extending logistic support and by transporting the fidayeens along with their arms and ammunition immediately before the attack, the NIA said. “The fourth accused charge-sheeted namely Nisar Ahmad Tantray is the younger brother of slain JeM commander Noor Mohd Tantray and he was also part of the said conspiracy”.

Further investigation continues in respect of other accused and cross border linkages of the attack, the NIA added. (GNS)

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