Could security agencies have prevented the Udhampur terror attack?The 58-page charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has once again brought back the focus on the glaring security lapses in the run-up to the militant strike on BSF convoy on August 5 last year that left two soldiers dead and 13 others injured in Udhampur.Nearly two weeks before the Udhampur attack, security forces had discovered a temporary shed in the hills used by the terrorists as the hideout near Wuyan village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seizure from the hideout included a large quantity of incriminating materials, including GPS sets, binoculars, night vision device, wireless sets, Pakistani medicines et al.Police registered a case but could not decipher it as a wake-up call for a possible terror strike. “During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Naveed (Pakistani terrorist captured alive) along with other terrorists of Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) led by Abu Qasim stayed at the hideout on a hill near Wuyan in intervals between June 14 and July 23, 2015,” the charge-sheet said.The location and the manner of the construction of the hideout, according to the NIA charge-sheet, clearly establishes that it had been constructed with the purpose of carrying out clandestine and illegal activities; in this case providing a safe shelter for terrorists.When the hideout was busted by the security forces on July 24, a large number of incriminating materials were recovered which were handed over to local police station.NIA said the description and nature of items recovered from the hideout are such that they are in the ordinary course likely to be used by terrorists.The items seized included three GPS sets and two mobile phones which were duly forwarded to CERT-IN, New Delhi for analysis and extraction of data.”It is important to emphasise that the data extracted by CERT-IN from the mobile phone of make Samsung, model GT-S7392 contains several videos, photographs and text which clearly shows the intimate linkage of the person or persons who used the phone with terrorism”, the charge-sheet added.Further, the Pakistani origin of the medicines recovered from the hideout clearly establishes the fact that the terrorists who had used the hideout had linkages with Pakistan, the charge-sheet noted.What has added a new dimension to the whole saga was that terrorists had been freely moving in trucks on the Srinagar-Jammu National highway without even being checked, frisked or searched?NIA has clearly pointed out that before Udhampur attack, the militants had planned to carry out a fidayeen strike on security installation in Jammu which was aborted at the last moment. In between, the militants travelled to Jammu and back to south Kashmir without being tracked.”On July 7, when he (Ashiq) along with other terrorists was staying at a hideout near Wuyan, Abu Qasim (slain LeT chief who masterminded the attack) entered into a conspiracy with Abu Okasha, Khursheed Bhat, to commit a fidayeen attack on a security camp near Jammu. Khursheed was asked to transport Naveed and Abu Okasha, who were given arms and ammunition, to Jammu area with a direction to drop them near a security force camp in order to give effect to the conspiracy,” the charge-sheet said.Accordingly, Khursheed along with one Nisar Ahmed Parray, Naveed and Abu Okasha left for Jammu in truck. “The party reached Jammu on the night of July 9, 2015. However, due to last minute changes in plans, the conspiracy to commit the terrorist act did not fructify”, the charge-sheet said.Having disbanded the plan to commit the terrorist act at the eleventh hour, Khursheed took Nisar, Naveed and Abu Okasha to a soft drink bottling plant Bari Brahmana on July10 , and got his truck loaded with a consignment of soft drinks which were to be transported to a soft drink dealer (in Kashmir), the charge-sheet addedThe charge-sheet has been filed against nine accused including Mohammed Naveed alias Usman, Khursheed Ahmed Bhat alias Khursheed Alam Bhat, Showkat Ahmed Bhat, Shabzar Ahmed Bhat, Fayaz Ahmed Ittoo alias Fayaz Khar, Khursheed Ahmed Ittu, Fayaz Ahmed Ashwar alias Setha, Ashiq Hussain Bhat aliasUbaida and Abu Noman. Of the accused, Abu Noman was killed in retaliatory action by the security forces upon the commencement of the instant terrorist attack, while Fayaz Ahmed Ashwar alias Setha and Ashiq Hussain Bhat alias Ubaida are still absconding.Though NIA has said the incident was a war against India yet they have not named any Lashkar handler from Pakistan who gave them instructions for the attack. All Pakistan ultras including Abu Qasim were based in Kashmir. Unlike Mumbai attack no handler from Pakistan has been named or mentioned.
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