Close Aide Of Pulwama Mastermind Held In Delhi: Police

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NEW DELHI — Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant Sajjad Khan, a close aide of Pulwama attack mastermind Mudasir Khan was arrested by the police here, officials said on Friday. 

They said Sajjad Ahmed Khan (27), a resident of Pulwama is also suspected to be involved in the conspiracy of Pulwama attack. 

Sajjad, who was arrested near the Lajpat Rai market late Thursday night is believed to have been in regular touch with the suicide bombing strike mastermind before and after the attack, police said.

On Mudasir’s instructions, Sajjad had moved to Delhi and lived here under the guise of a shawl vendor to establish a sleeper cell of JeM. 

Mudasir was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir recently. 

Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district after a JeM militant rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus, which was part of a convoy going to Srinagar from Jammu on February 14.

The same day, Mudasir contacted Sajjad on whatsapp and informed him about the attack on CRPF convoy. 

Mudasir sent him Sajjad a video of Adil Dar – the fidayeen who carried out the attack and later deleted it from his phone, Pramod Singh Kushwah, Deputy Commisisoner of Police (Special Cell) said.

“He was tasked by Mudasir to establish a sleeper cell here. He was specially sent here to carry out reconnaissance of important targets and to set up a hideout in Delhi,” Kushwah said.

He was also tasked with radicalising and recruiting Muslim youth from Uttar Pradesh and other states, provide them weapons training, explosives and field craft, raising funds and collecting weapons, Kushwah added. 

Mudasir instructed Sajjad to spot young Kashmiri youths for fidayeen attacks. 

Sajjad then motivated and recruited Bilal, a resident of Gadpora in Jammu and Kashmir and Tanveer, a resident of Midura in Tral, he said.

NIA had recently registered a case in which Sajjad along with Mudasir Khan was named as accused. Sajjad’s two brothers were slain JeM militants, Kushwah said.

The three brothers were initially engaged in stone pelting. In February 2015, Sajjad’s brother Ishfaq was arrested under Public Safety Act (PSA) for stone pelting and remained in Srinagar jail for about nine months, he said.

In Srinagar jail, Ishfaq came in contact with JeM’s Noor Mohammad Tantarey. In 2017, Tantarey died in an exchange of fire with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the officer said.

After his release from the jail, Ishfaq initially worked as an over ground worker for JeM and later turned into an active JeM militant.

He remained active for about 18 months but died in an exchange of fire with security forces on April 25, 2018 in Lam in Tral, Pulwama along with two Pakistan militants, the officer said.

After his death, Mudasir Khan used to frequently visit his residence in Pulwama and motivated Showkat and Sajjad Ahmad Khan to join the JeM. 

By the end of June 2018, Showkat also joined the JeM, he added.

“Showkat also subsequently died in an exchange of fire with the security forces in September 2018 in Chan in Tral, Pulwama along with Usman Haider, the nephew of Masood Azhar and son of Ibrahim Azhar – younger brother of Masood Azhar and mastermind of IC-814 hijacking to Kandahar”, the DCP said.

After the death of Showkat, Mudassir started visiting the residence of Sajjad more frequently and motivated Sajjad to work as JeM Cadre. 

Sajjad initially provided information about movement of convoys and cordon and search operations carried by Army, the officer added.

 


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