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Journalists’ threat case: Police conduct searches at dozen locations across three districts

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Srinagar: Police on Saturday conducted searches at 12 locations in connection with threatening of journalists by terror outfit The Resistance Front, officials said.

The searches were conducted in Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam districts of the Valley.

The premises where the searches were conducted included residences of several journalists as well as some suspects, they said, adding that some suspects are being questioned.

The police had on November 12 filed a case against “terrorists and handlers” belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and The Resistance Front (TRF), “a shadow organisation of LeT”, for sending threat letters to journalists in Kashmir.

“Police today conducted simultaneous searches at 12 locations in connection with the recent threat issued to journalists of the Valley,” the officials said.

They said the houses of “fugitives” like Sajjad Gul, Mukhtar Baba, “all terrorists of LeT/TRF and other suspects” were raided in Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam districts early morning.

According to a dossier prepared by the police, Baba – a Turkey-based “terror operative” — and six of his contacts in Jammu and Kashmir are suspected to be behind the threats.

Police officials said that police teams have seized mobile phones, laptops, memory cards, pen drives and other digital devices, documents, bank papers, rubber stamps, passports, papers, cash and some Saudi currency.

Each search team, comprising four to five members, was led by an inspector/sub-inspector rank officer monitored by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) concerned, the officials said.

The raids were supervised by SP (South city) Lakshya Sharma, they added.

Consequent to the searches, some suspects have been brought for examination and questioning, the officials said.

A case under section 13 of UAPA, and sections 124A, 153B, 505 and 506 of IPC has already been registered at Shergari police station here against “handlers, active terrorists and OGWs (over ground workers) of LeT and TRF for online publication and dissemination of direct threat letters to journalists and reporters based in Kashmir”.

The TRF had issued the threat to a few media houses in the Valley for their “traitorous acts” and “nexus with the fascist Indian regime”.

Following the threat, several journalists had resigned from local publications.

“Baba (55) used to work for various newspapers in Kashmir. He was a resident of Srinagar in the 1990s and is believed to have escaped to Turkey,” the intelligence dossier said.

“Baba, who often visits Pakistan, has emerged as a mastermind responsible for grooming youngsters in the Valley to join the TRF,” the dossier said.

“Baba has built a network of informers in the journalist community and used their inputs to prepare a list of scribes to threaten,” it said.

Investigation in the case is in full swing and the general public is requested to bring to notice of the Srinagar police any information that is relevant to this case, the officials added.

Meanwhile, police spokesman in a statement said the premises raided and searched include those of Mohammad Rafi at Nigeen, Khalid Gul at Anantnag, Rashid Maqbool at Lal Bazar, Momin Gulzar at Eidgah, Basit Dar at Kulgam, Sajjad Kralyari at Rainawari, Gowhar Geelani at Soura, Qazi Shibli at Anantnag, Sajjad Sheikh alias Sajjad Gul at HMT Srinagar, Mukhtar Baba at Nowgam, Waseem Khalid at Rawalpora and Adil Pandit at Khanyar Srinagar.

“During search, all the legal formalities were followed professionally and consequent to the searches some suspects have been brought for examination and questioning,” spokesman said.

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