People, VDC members capture Pak militant alive; 2 BSF jawans killed, 13 injured in terror attack

Sanjeev Pargal

Pakistani militant Naved in custody of VDC members and local people at Narsu, Samroli on Wednesday. More pics on page 3.  -Excelsior/Rakesh
Pakistani militant Naved in custody of VDC members and local people at Narsu, Samroli on Wednesday. More pics on page 3.

JAMMU, Aug 5:Two BSF jawans were killed and 13 others were injured, some of them seriously, when two Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit attacked their bus at Narsu near Samroli, about 17 kilometers from Udhampur on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway this morning. The BSF gunned down one of the militant on the spot while another Pakistani militant was captured alive by the local people and VDC members from village Chirdi, about six kilometers from Narsu and left side of the mountains, when he was trying to trek towards Seoj Dhar holding three civilians hostage.
This was for the first time after 26/11/2008 arrest of Pakistani militant Ajmal Kasab that a Pakistani militant has landed alive in the hands of Indian security agencies after carrying out a terror attack. In view of security considerations and after day long questioning in Udhampur, the captured Pakistani, who continued to change his identity throughout the day and finally settled for Mohammad Naveed alias Qasim and a resident of Faisalabad, Pakistan, the 22 years old militant was tonight shifted to the Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) in Jammu, where Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendera personally joined interrogation of the militant. He disclosed identity of his slain associate as Noman alias Momin. Both of them were residents of Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Police was searching for a truck and its operator(s), who had brought the two militants from Kulgam to Narsu at Samroli Nullah, for carrying out the attack on Amarnath ji pilgrims. However, they missed the target and attacked the BSF vehicle. They also had tea at a dhaba at Narsu before launching the strike.
“The truck driver took the two militants from Kulgam up to Patnitop last night. They had night halt in the truck between Patnitop and Kud and travelled towards Samroli this morning. The truck driver dropped the militants at Narsu and returned,” sources said, adding the truck was being searched as its operator was involved in the terror attack and had willingly transported the militants to Narsu from Kulgam.
The militants had crossed over into the Indian territory from the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara sector of Kashmir about two months back. The captured militant didn’t recall exact date of infiltration but remembered that he had crossed into Kashmir before Ramzan and was staying with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commanders at different places. Finally, he was launched from Kulgam by the LeT outfit for launching attack on Amarnath yatris on the National Highway. However, official convoy of the Amarnath yatra had crossed Narsu at 6.10 am while the militants carried out the attack at 6.55 am. Some of the Yatra vehicles were stopped at Samroli.
On the involvement of National Investigating Agency (NIA) into the investigations, sources said they can join the investigations. However, the investigations will be conducted by police, where the terror attack occurred i.e. under the jurisdiction of Chenani police station in Udhampur district.
Sources said it was clear that the militants were not linked to last week’s attack at Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
High drama unfolded after the attack at Narsu near Samroli in which two BSF jawans and a militant were killed. The second militant took five civilians as hostage from Narsu at gun point and asked them to take him towards Seoj Dhar in Marmat.
The civilians–Rakesh Kumar, Vikramjeet, Desraj, Subash Sharma and Jeevan trekked about six kilometers up to village Chirdi on left side mountains of Narsu when they along with some other locals and Village Defence Committee (VDC) members overpowered the militant. They snatched AK-47 rifle from the militant before capturing him. Police parties, which had also been keeping track on the militant, reached the spot and brought the militant to Narsu from where he was whisked away to District Police Lines (DPL) in Udhampur for sustained interrogation before being shifted to the JIC at Miran Sahib, Jammu.
“Naved was caught by those whom he took hostage. Two of them, besides some VDC members, also helped in his arrest during the operation,” sources said.
“As I came out of my house after hearing a gunshot, this militant came and asked me to come with him. He had already taken three-four people along,” Rakesh Kumar, a youth who was taken hostage, said.
Army and police then cordoned off the area surrounding school to rescue the hostages.
“We were taken at gunpoint to the school. He asked us to show us the route to escape from the area,” another hostage, Vikramjeet said.
The militant threatened them that if they didn’t show him the route, he would kill their family, he said, adding that they also offered him some food.
“I caught his neck and he (Rakesh) caught hold of the gun. He (the militant) fired a few rounds but we escaped narrowly and caught him,” Vikramjeet said.
Fortunately there were no students in the school in view of the strike for demand for an AIIMS in Jammu, sources said, adding that large quantity of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the captured and slain militants, which included two AK-47 rifles, ammunition, grenades etc.
There was al-round praise for the local people and VDC members for capturing the Pakistani militant alive by risking their lives. Locals carried them on their shoulders and strongly praised them for doing what all security agencies and police couldn’t do. The local people demanded that all civilians, who risked their life and captured the militants, should be given regular jobs in Police Department apart from cash rewards.
BJP MLA from Chenani, Dina Nath Bhagat visited the spot and lauded brave people of his constituency for nabbing the Pakistani ultra. He supported the demand for jobs and cash reward to the people.
Sources and eye-witnessed said the militants opened firing on the BSF bus No. 3851 JK01K, which was carrying the BSF jawans, return from leave, from Jammu to Srinagar at Narsu near Samroli on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at 6.55 am. The BSF jawans, who were carrying weapons with them, immediately retaliated from inside and gunned down one of the militants while another fled towards mountains holding the civilians hostage.
Two BSF jawans were killed and 13 others were injured in the attack.
The martyred BSF jawans have been identified as Shubhenbdu Rai son of Sibendra Nath, a resident of Jalpaigudi, West Bengal and Rockey son of Pritpal Singh, a resident of Yamunanagar in Haryana. While Rai had died on spot, Rockey succumbed to his injuries in Chenani hospital. All 13 injured BSF jawans have been admitted in the Military Hospital, Udhampur.
Injured jawans have been identified as VB Mondal, constable, Ashok Kumar, constable, Kuljit Singh, constable, Mohan Lal, head constable, Mahesh Chander, constable, Rajiv Ranjan, head constable, KP Singh, constable, M Ahmad, head constable, OP Gupta, constable, Daljeet Singh, constable, Lalit Mohan, head constable, Rakesh Kumar, constable and Rajesh Kumar, constable.
Police officers from Udhampur led by DIG Surinder Gupta, SSP Udhampur Suleman Choudhary, Additional SP Udhampur ML Kaith, SHO Udhampur Arjun Singh Chib and SHO Chenani Mahesh Sharma rushed to the spot and launched operation to capture the surviving militant. IGP Jammu Danesh Rana also rushed to the spot to supervise the operation.
IG BSF Rakesh Sharma also camped at the spot during the day.
Traffic on Udhampur-Chenani road was suspended from either side of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Some vehicles carrying pilgrims of Amarnath ji shrine were stopped at Samroli. There was huge traffic jams on both sides of the highway.
Traffic was restored on the highway after operation was called off this afternoon and the highway stretch was sanitized.
Sources admitted that there were very few occasions when a Pakistani militant was captured alive and that too after an encounter.
“Pakistani militants have been arrested earlier also but capturing them alive during the gun battle is rare,” they said. Worthwhile to mention here that this was for the first time after 26/11/2008 terror attack in Mumbai when Ajmal Kasab was arrest alive that a Pakistani has been nabbed during the gun-battle, which presented enough evidence of Pakistan’s involvement to create disturbances in the country including Jammu and Kashmir. Sources admitted that attack on Amarnath yatra, which was planned by the LeT, would have countrywide ramifications.
Sources said police was also questioning the dhabawalla at Narsu, where the militants had taken tea before launching the attack. Simultaneously, a hunt was on for the truck operator, who had brought the militants from Kulgam to Narsu after night halt at Patnitop. However, even the captured militant didn’t know his identity and registration number of the truck.
While attacks on Jammu-Pathankot Highway have taken place quite often, this was after the long time that the militants struck at Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Last attack on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was in Udhampur when an Army Medical Corps officer had narrow escape in an IED blast.
“Its fun doing this,” said Naved, the captured Pakistani militants in brief chat with reporters at Narsu before he was whisked away by police.
“I came to kill Hindus,” said Naved, dressed in a dark blue shirt and brown trousers, with a relaxed demeanour. He also alleged that he wanted to take revenge.
“I am from Pakistan and my partner was killed in the firing but I escaped. Had I been killed, it would have been Allah’s doing. There is fun in doing this,” Naved said.
Initially, he said that he was in his early 20s but later claimed that he was only 16. He had been changing his statements. First he identified himself as Kasim and later as Usman before finally disclosing his identity as Naved
This has been the tactics of banned Lashkar group sending youngsters to Jammu and Kashmir with the direction that in case they were caught, they should claim to be below 18 years so that they are tried as juveniles, sources said.
An official handout issued by the BSF said militants ambushed BSF convoy at Narsu Nala, (Samroli), on Jammu- Srinagar NH-1A while convoy was on way to Srinagar. One of the militant suddenly appeared on the road and sprayed bullets on a BSF bus forming part of above convoy.
“Militant targeted the driver, injured him and continued to spray bullets on the bus, before attempting to forcefully enter the front door of the bus which was tightly held from inside by No. 994001199 Constable Shubendu Rai of 02 Bn BSF despite of heavy firing on him by the militants from outside. Simultaneously No.12062813 Const Rocky of 59 Bn BSF, armed guard of said bus, without caring for his personal safety, under the shower of bullets, effectively engaged and retaliated the militant fire from inside the bus and killed the said militant on spot.
“The primed grenade which was in the hand of the killed militant blasted outside the vehicle causing splinter injuries to the troops. Constable Rocky who was profusely bleeding, then engaged the other militants who had taken position on the adjoining heights along the road and were fring heavily on the stranded bus.
“Meanwhile, troops of BSF convoy guard and CRPF troops on ROP duty were reinforced and assisted the operation and rescued the injured BSF personnel. Due to heavy firing by militants, 15 BSF personnel sustained bullet/ splinter injuries out of which Constable Rockey and Constable Shubhenbdu Rai succumbed to their injuries while being evacuated to hospital. “Later the Village Defence Committee members of the area nabbed the fleeing militant alive. The gallant action by Constable Rocky and Constable Shubendu Rai saved the precious lives of other BSF personnels travelling in the bus.”


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