Internal Security

Held Hizbul man planned major attack ahead of Republic Day, says intel

The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant arrested along with a Jammu and Kashmir police officer this month was planning to deliver explosives in Pulwama for major attacks his group was planning to launch ahead of the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, according to a Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) input shared with the security agencies last week.

Naveed Babu, the HM’s operations chief for south and central Kashmir, was arrested while he was travelling to Jammu with deputy police superintendent Davinder Singh and two others on January 11.

According to an input, Babu was to deliver the explosives to his HM associates, who were likely to carry out attacks in Zadoora and also plant an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the Niwa-Pakherpora road near Pulwama. The January 15 DIA input, a copy of which HT has accessed, calls Babu the “master terror recruiter” and an “IED expert”.

A car bomb attack on a paramilitary convoy in Pulwama last year left 40 troopers dead and prompted India to launch an air strike on a terror camp in Pakistan.

Babu is HM’s second-in-command after Riyaz Nikoo. He is accused of involvement in a spate of civilian killings last year and also those of police officers and snatching of weapons from security forces.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing Singh’s links with Babu and other terror operators in the Valley, on Wednesday raided Singh’s residence in Srinagar. It is scrutinising the documents recovered from Singh. His staff will also be questioned about the people who would visit Singh’s at his residence and office, according to the officials aware of the matter.

An officer said records and CCTV footage from the Srinagar airport, where Singh was last posted with the anti-hijacking unit, will also be checked to see if any unauthorised people were given entry.

Another officer added that inquiries were being done in Srinagar, Qazigund and Kulgam districts. Singh’s call records and emails were also being checked to find whether any sensitive information had been shared with militants.

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