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3 HM associates arrested in Tral, IED material recovered: Police

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‘Coordinator and facilitator of militant activities of various groups held at Jammu airport’

Srinagar: Three associates of Hizbul Mujahideen were arrested in Tral area of Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday, police said.

In a statement, a police spokesperson said that acting on specific information of militant movement, police in Awantipora along with 42 RR and 180 Bn CRPF launched a search operation in Batagund and Dadsara Tral.

During the search operation, three associates of proscribed Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were arrested, he said.

“The arrested persons were involved in providing shelter, logistics and transportation of arms/ ammunition to the HM militant in Tral and Awantipora area,” the spokesperson said.

He said during on-spot questioning of the associates, IED material consisting of eight electric detonators, seven anti-mechanism switches, three pressure or relay mechanism switches, one improvised switch and one anti-mine wireless antenna, was recovered from a house in Dadsara.

The spokesperson identified the arrestees as Shafat Ahmad Sofi, son of Muzaffar Ahmad Sofi of Batagund; Majid Mohammad Bhat, son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat of Dadsara, and Umer Rashid Wani, son of Abdul Rashid Wani of Dadsara.

He said a case under (FIR no. 09/2021) was registered at Police Station Tral under relevant sections of law.

Meanwhile, police on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a Poonch resident from Jammu airport soon after his arrival from abroad.

The arrested person was identified as Sher Ali, and police said he was the “coordinator and facilitator” of activities of various militant groups.

“Sher Ali is the main coordinator and facilitator of terrorist activities of various groups. He is involved in facilitating infiltration of terrorists, smuggling of arms and ammunition and narcotics from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Indian territory from Balakote area of Poonch district,” the police said in a statement here.

Police sources said Ali was arrested based on specific information immediately after his arrival at the Jammu airport.

“He has been arrested in connection with a case lodged at police station Mendhar last year. He is also involved in many other cases (related to his terror activities),” the statement said.

Sitting abroad, the police said, Ali facilitated the entry of two Pakistani militants from Dabbi area of Balakote sector (Poonch) on the intervening night of November 24 and 25 last year “at the behest of his Pakistani handler, Sultan”.

Both the militants of the J&K Ghaznavi Force were later killed in an encounter on December 13 last year in the Poshana area of Surankote.

“Ali also smuggled arms and ammunition, which included three pistols and one IED, besides other ammunition through Balakote sector,” the police said.

Ali’s father, Mushtaq Ahmed, and sister, Raskeem Akhter, were arrested by the Poonch Police on September 11 for receiving the arms consignment from across the LoC, and an FIR stands registered at the Mendhar police station in this case, the police said.

So far, the police said, five overground workers — Mushtafa, Mohammad Yaseen, Younis, Irfan and Raskeem — involved in the militant network led by Ali have been arrested.

“Ali was also involved in drug smuggling along with smuggling of arms and ammunition, and 2 kg heroine, worth over Rs 8 crores in the international market, was also recovered from this terror network which was meant to be used for terror financing,” the police said.

It said five pistols, 13 grenades and one live IED had been recovered from the busted network.

Further investigation is in progress, the police added.

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