Amid a resurgence in attacks on outsiders and Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday conducted searches at multiple locations in the Union Territory, including at residences of suspected operatives of The Resistance Force (TRF). An affiliate of LeT, the outfit, along with elements from Jaish-e-Mohammed, are suspected to be behind the recent attacks on outsiders in the Valley.
According to NIA, the searches were conducted at 11 locations — six across Srinagar, Baramulla (2), Awantipora (1), Budgam (1) and Kulgam (1) — in connection with a case of “radicalising /recruiting / motivating youths of J&K to violent activities by Sajad Gul, TRF Commander and others”.
The locations searched include the house of Basit Ahmad Dar, an active militant against whom NIA has recently announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh.
“The case relates to activities of ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF), a frontal outfit of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and it’s self-styled commander Sajjad Gul, who has been actively radicalising, motivating and recruiting youth of J&K to affect violent activities,” the NIA said in a statement.
The agency stated that Gul, along with his other associate commanders of LeT based in Pakistan, “has been recruiting individuals (overground workers) to do reconnaissance of pre-determined targets, coordinating and transporting weapons to support LeT and TRF”.
During the searches, the agency claimed to have recovered “various incriminating materials such as digital devices, SIM cards, digital storage devices, documents, etc”.
Agencies suspect overground workers of TRF and JeM to have been handed over the job of targeting outsiders and Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. These are largely untrained part-time militants who have regular jobs but can execute minor attacks on instructions.
In the last fortnight alone, there have been four such attacks in which six migrant workers and one Kashmiri Pandit person have been shot at by suspected militants. The last time such incidents took place in the Valley was in October last year, when several migrant workers and Kashmiri Pandit people were killed.
The incidents, coming days before Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Kashmir, had led to exodus of migrants and Pandits from the Valley.