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NIA files charge-sheet against 3 Kulgam men held on militancy charges

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New Delhi: The NIA has filed a charge-sheet against three persons who allegedly underwent training in Pakistan to carry out militant attacks in India on the instructions of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an official said.

The charge-sheet against Muneeb Hameed Bhat, Junaid Ahmad Mattoo and Umer Rashid Wani, all residents of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, was filed before a special NIA court in Jammu on Thursday.

It was filed under sections of the Ranbir Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the official said.

Mattoo and Wani were killed in separate encounters in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017 and 2018, respectively, the NIA official said.

The case relates to subversive activities of the LeT in Kulgam. It was motivating youths such as Bhat to join the militant group and organised their travel to Pakistan for militancy training on the basis of valid travel documents following the recommendation of separatist leaders, the NIA official said.

Investigations by the NIA, which took over the case on September 25, 2018, established that LeT militant Mattoo motivated Bhat to join the LeT and go to Pakistan for training, the NIA spokesperson said. He added that Wani, another LeT militant, gave him funds to meet the expenses of his visit to the neighbouring country.

In July-August 2017, Bhat visited Pakistan on valid travel documents and was imparted training on using weapons and secret social media chat platforms, the official of the investigation agency said.

After returning from Pakistan, he was in constant touch with “LeT handlers in Pakistan and with active militants of Kulgam on secret messaging platforms to carry out subversive and terrorist activities in the Valley,” the NIA spokesperson said.

Bhat was working as a “sleeper cell” of the LeT and intended to join the banned organisation, the official said.

“From 2016-2018, many Kashmiri youths were sent by separatist leaders to Pakistan,” he added.

“They were trained in the camps for five to 15 days. After returning, they were initially used as sleeper cells by militant organisations and subsequently recruited for active militancy,” the official said.

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