The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in a report has stated that the prime accused arrested in connection with a 2016 attack on the Nagrota army camp in Jammu had gone to Pakistan four times between 2015 and 2017 on a visa acquired with the help of reference letters from top separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Abdul Ghani Bhat and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “During his visits, the accused met JeM commanders and took directions from them after getting clearance from a local ISI agent,” the NIA said.
The accused, identified as Mohammad Ashiq Baba, Tariq Ahmed Dar, and Muneer-ul-Hassan Qadri, were in constant touch with senior JeM leader Mufti Asghar based at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir through voice calls and WhatsApp. “Besides Asghar, the accused were in touch with Qari Zarar based in Rawalpindi and Waseem and Abu Talha (all of them in charge of launching terrorists in the Jammu region).
A day before the Nagrota attack, accused Ashiq Baba was given instructions to receive a freshly infiltrated group of three Pakistani terrorists from the Samba sector.
The Indian Army base in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir was attacked on 29 November 2016 by a group of militants. In the morning around 5:30 three militants dressed in Indian police uniforms had attacked the Indian Army’s 166 Field Regiment unit in the town of Nagrota, near the Jammu city. During the ensuing gun battle, seven Indian soldiers, including two officers and all three militants were killed.
On further interrogation, it was revealed that Baba during his visit to Pakistan in 2017, met Waseem, Abu Talha, and Mufti Asghar. He also met Maulana Rauf (brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar and an accused in the Pathankot attack) at their headquarters at Bahawalpur. He was appreciated for his work by the JeM leaders and promised a lot of financial rewards and was told to receive more attackers in future.” He was also asked to open an account with HDFC or ICICI bank to receive funds as a reward. “Baba had an HDFC account and he gave the details to the JeM commanders through Whatsapp. They then transferred large amounts into his account. Baba disclosed that the money came from Gulf countries.”
Ashiq Baba was arrested on Tuesday, two days before home minister Rajnath Singh’s trip to Jammu and Kashmir at a time when fresh moves are being made to talk to separatist Hurriyat leaders in the middle of a cessation of military operations during the month of Ramazan.