LeT’s Pak militant shifted from Kot Bhalwal jail to Mendhar

Suspected of giving clues to infiltrators on phone

Third IED defused in 2 days  in Bhatta Durrian forests

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 23: In some significant leads in ongoing operations against the militants in Poonch forests, Mendhar police have taken a Pakistani militant, lodged in high-security Kot Bhalwal jail, on 10-day remand for questioning in view of the inputs that he was in touch with the group which is hiding in the forest area through mobile telephone and has reportedly briefed them about infiltration route he once took while intruding into the Indian territory from the Line of Control (LoC).
The Pakistani militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit who has been shifted from Kot Bhalwal jail to Gursai Police Station in Mendhar tehsil has been identified as Zia Mustafa son of Abdul Kareem, a resident of Rawalakote in Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK).
Gursai Police took him on 10-day police remand from the Court and then shifted him to Police Station from Kot Bhalwal jail where he was reportedly lodged for the past 14 years in connection with several terror-related incidents.
His remand has been taken in First Information Report (FIR) No. 107/2021 lodged under Sections 302, 307, 120-B IPC and 7/25/26 Indian Arms Act at Gursai Police Station. The FIR was lodged after martyrdom of four Army soldiers, one of them Junior Commissioner Officer (JCO), in an encounter with the militants at Bhatta Durrian forests of Mendhar in Poonch district on October 14. Same group of militants had first struck at Chamrer forests in Surankote tehsil of the same district on October 11 in which five Army jawans including one JCO were martyred.
While police officials declined to comment on the role of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Pakistani militant Zia Mustafa in Surankote and Mendhar operations, reliable sources said he was reportedly in touch with the group through mobile telephone and had briefed them about the route to be taken after infiltration from the LoC to cross Pir Panjal mountains and forests to reach South Kashmir.
Sources pointed out that mentors of the infiltrating group had established contact with Zia Mustafa as he too had intruded from the same route about 15 years back and successfully reached South Kashmir where he was arrested after involvement in terror-related incidents.
It may be mentioned here that few months back CID (Counter Intelligence) had seized nearly a dozen SIM cards and Smart mobile telephones from Kot Bhalwal jail, some of which were in possession of the Pakistani militants. Few days back, the jail authorities had recovered another SIM card sent for a militant through parcel.
Zia Mustafa is being subjected to sustained questioning at Gursai Police Station to get clues about the group of militants including their numbers, affiliation, nationality etc, sources said.
After his arrest in Kashmir in terror-related incidents, Mustafa was shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail where a number of Pakistani militants are lodged.
As already reported, police had yesterday detained two porters working with the Army in Surankote. They had been handed over to police by the troops over suspicion on their links with the group of militants operating in the forests. Prior to this, Mendhar police had detained 10 persons including four women for providing food and shelter to the militants in Bhatta Durrian forests.
Meanwhile, Army operations against the militants in Bhatta Durrian forests after Chamrer in Surankote in Poonch district today entered into 13th day but a success remained elusive. Also, there has been no fresh contact with the militants for last few days.
Troops, however, continued searches in the dense forests.
During searches, they recovered one more Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the militants in the forests to cause casualties among security forces. But the troops detected and defused the IED safely.
This was the third IED to be detected and defused in Bhatta Durrian forests during last two days. Yesterday, two IEDs concealed in two boxes were recovered by the Army in same forests and later defused by the Bomb Disposal Squad.
A total of nine Army soldiers have been martyred in the operations—five in Chamrer forests of Surankote and four in Bhatta Durrian jungles of Mendhar in Poonch district.
Meanwhile, security forces today busted a militant hideout near Rajouri town in Jammu region and recovered a large number of AK-47 rounds.
The operation was launched by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Patia nallah in Gurdan Bala village near Rajouri town over some specific information.
“During this search operation, a mini hideout of militants was busted and 591 bullets of AK rifle have been recovered,” the officials said.