Al Qaeda linked Moosa’s aide among 2 militants held; DP to join probe

Blast rocks Doda school, Principal among 2 injured

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 6: Even as police arrested two Kashmiri militants from Jammu City, both hailing from Awantipora in Pulwama district of South Kashmir, a blast took place inside Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) Shiva in Bhalla area of Doda district injuring Principal of the school and a staffer.
One of the arrested militants was aide of Zakir Moosa, , the chief of Ansar-Gazbat-ul-Hind outfit, linked with Al Qaeda, who had travelled all the way from Awantipora to Jammu for further reaching New Delhi, where the outfit had planned to carry out serial blasts on the occasion of Independence Day.
He has been identified as Irfan Hassan Wani son of late Ghulam Hassan Wani R/o Dangerpora, Awantipora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

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Another militant Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh of Awantipora has been arrested by police from the City for his involvement in General Bus Stand, Jammu grenade attack in which four persons including three policemen were injured few days before start of annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine.
Sheikh was being interrogated to ascertain identity of his contacts, who had deputed him here with the grenade and the places where he stayed before carrying out the grenade attack at Bus Stand.
Irfan Hassan Wani, who was arrested yesterday near Convent Crossing at Gandhi Nagar along with eight live grenades had reached here on August 4 and stayed at a hotel at Jewel Chowk for the night. Yesterday evening, he tried to proceed towards New Delhi but was nabbed by alert Gandhi Nagar police well before he could leave Jammu.
Delhi Police Special Cell team is reaching here to join interrogation of Irfan Wani amidst inputs that he had to deliver consignment to his contacts in New Delhi, where Zakir Moosa’s group planned to trigger serial blasts on the occasion of Independence Day. Delhi Police had inputs which suggested that the militant outfits were planning serial blasts in Delhi before or during the Independence Day.
Sources said Irfan Hassan Wani was active in militancy for past one year and was in direct contact with Rehan, the No. 2 in Ansar-Gzabat-ul-Hind militant organization headed by Zakir Moosa, whose outfit reportedly had connections with global outfit Al-Qaeda. Irfan had been given grenades by Rehan in South Kashmir and asked to reach New Delhi on August 6, where at a specific place, the militant were scheduled to collect consignment from him.
“With the arrest of Irfan, the militants’ plot to rock the Union capital with serial blasts on the Independence Day has been foiled,” sources said, describing it as major success of Jammu Police.
Sustained interrogation of Irfan Wani was on to ascertain more contacts and plans of his militant outfit, sources said, adding that Delhi Police would try to ascertain the place and some contacts to whom the consignment had to be delivered in Delhi to unravel the entire plot.
Significantly, 22 years old Irfan was a BA Final year student in Degree College Pulwama but had dropped out to join the militancy.
IGP Jammu Zone Dr SD Singh Jamwal told reporters that a major terror plot aimed at disturbing Independence Day celebrations has been foiled with the arrest of Irfan.
Meanwhile, a blast rocked the Staff Room of Government Higher Secondary School, Shiva in Bhalla area of Bhaderwah in Doda district at 9.30 am today injuring Principal Hoshiar Singh and a lady staff member Sharifa.
SSP Doda Mohammad Shabir told the Excelsior that the blast was of low intensity but it led to fire in the Staff Room in which furniture was burnt. However, police and Fire Brigades reached the spot.
Shabir said nature of the blast couldn’t be ascertained immediately but the teams of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) would examine the spot to ascertain what kind of explosive had been used to cause the blast. He added that the injured Principal has been referred to Narayana Hospital, Kakryal in Katra in view of his serious condition.
SP Operations Doda Ravinder Pal Singh, SDPO Bhaderwah Tousif Rishu and SI Sunil Kumar, Incharge Police Post Bhalla rushed to the spot for investigations.
A case FIR No. 133/2018 under Section 324 RPC and 3 Explosive Substance Act has been registered at Bhaderwah police station for further investigations.
Significantly, Doda district had been declared as militancy-free few years back but sometime back, a local had joined militancy but he was killed in Kashmir. Police said they were working on all aspects in the blast.
Panic gripped the school and students and staff members rushed out. However, the normalcy was restored after arrival of police. Police searched the school premises for any other suspicious object and then declared it safe.
Meanwhile, terming the arrest of Irfan a “major success”, IGP Jammu Dr SD Singh Jamwal told reporters that it was the result of robust security measures put in place by the police to ensure peaceful Independence Day celebrations in Jammu.
The IGP said the interrogation of the terrorist was going on and revealing anything more would hamper the investigation.
He said that they were looking into all aspects and also checking his mobile phone for more information.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police said that it would be questioning the accused. A team of the Special Cell will reach Jammu.
In reply to a question, the IGP said that Wani was on foot when he was intercepted by alert policemen.
The police official said that Wani had received the consignment in Kashmir and was planning to hand over the same to somebody in Delhi and added that there was no security lapse.
“His arrest was the result of the robust security structure which is in place,” he said.
Asked whether the arrest of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind terrorist was linked to an intelligence alert about a terrorists’ plan to trigger serial blasts in Delhi or Jammu, Dr Jamwal said, “Maybe it is a part of that but we have maintained high alert and the major success was the result of that alertness.”
On a grenade attack at the Jammu bus stand on May 24 which left two policemen and a pedestrian injured, he said it was a separate incident and not linked with this arrest.
“We have already solved the case and arrested the accused. We will share details of the same separately,” the officer said.
The policemen were on high alert and Independence Day celebrations would pass off peacefully, the IGP said.
About hideout and presence of sleeper cells in Jammu, he said, “Investigation is going on and once we get any concrete information we will share it with you.”
Arrest of Irfan was made by Gandhi Nagar police teams headed by SDPO Mohammad Rafiq Manhas and SHO Sunil Jasrotia under the supervision of SSP Jammu Vivek Gupta and SP SOG and South Vinay Sharma.