Breakthrough in Basantgarh terror attack; police releases 6 sketches, all foreigners

SSP Udhampur Joginder Singh releasing sketches of terrorists involved in Basantgarh attack on Saturday. —Excelsior/K Kumar
SSP Udhampur Joginder Singh releasing sketches of terrorists involved in Basantgarh attack on Saturday. —Excelsior/K Kumar

10-12 terrorists may be hiding in forests, ops on

*OGW from Kathua who arranged logistics nabbed

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 11: Police today released sketches of six terrorists, all believed to be the foreigners, and is in the process of preparing more sketches amid reports that there could be 10 to 12 terrorists hiding in upper reaches or forests of Basantgarh in Udhampur district for whom a massive combined search operations were on.

In the meantime, Udhampur Police have achieved a major success by apprehending an Over Ground Worker (OGW) who was involved in arranging logistics for the terrorist group.
At a press conference today, SSP Udhampur Joginder Singh released sketches of six terrorists, who were spotted at Basantgarh and were involved in a gun battle with Village Defence Guards on April 28 in which a VDG Mohammad Sharief of Lower Panara was martyred.
“Most probably the terrorists appeared to be foreigners,’’ Singh told the Excelsior and said their identity is yet to be established. One of them is around 40 years old while rest five are in the age group of 22-30, he added.

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Officials, however, said some more sketches are being prepared and they will be released shortly. There appeared to be 10-12 terrorists who were spotted in Basantgarh, reportedly after their infiltration from Kathua and were headed to the Kashmir Valley.
Inputs, however, suggest that they could still be hiding in upper reaches or forest areas of Basantgarh due to massive cordon and search operations launched by Army, Udhampur Police and paramilitary forces besides the VDGs, who are also in the forefront of anti-militancy operations.
“Due to searches, the militants haven’t been able to breach the forest cover of Basantgarh,’’ the officials said.
The OGW arrested by police was identified by the SSP Udhampur as Javed Hussain son of Mohammad Hussain, a resident of Loha Nathi village in Kathua district.
Joginder Singh told the reporters that Javed was prime contact in providing logistics to the terrorists and was aware of their movement two days in advance. However, he didn’t inform the police.
Javed, who has a dhok in Basantgarh also, was instrumental in guiding the terrorists and his interrogation has given police vital clues about description of terrorists, weapons with them, the language they spoke and the areas they were heading.
“Of six terrorists whose sketches were today released by Udhampur police, one was in possession of M4 Carbine, four were carrying assault rifles while another one had both rifle and pistol. They were foreigners, most likely the Pakistani nationals,’’ the officials said.
Udhampur Police have also announced handsome rewards for anyone giving information about presence of terrorists leading to their neutralization.
Officials described arrest of Javed as significant breakthrough in the Basantgarh terror attack saying his interrogation has given valuable clues to the cops which are being pursued in the investigations.
Searches, meanwhile, have been intensified and area of searches has been further expanded in forests and mountains in Basantgarh to track down the terrorists as certain inputs were clearly suggesting that the terrorists could still be trapped in the forests though they wanted to move towards the Kashmir Valley.
While sketches of six terrorists released today are believed to be foreigners, others hiding in the forests too could be the foreign nationals, most likely the Pakistanis.
The terrorists were first spotted in Basantgarh on April 28 and were soon engaged by the VDGs in which one of the VDGs was martyred. The terrorists managed to escape in the dense forests and since then multiple operations have been launched by security forces to neutralize them.