LUCKNOW: Two alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operatives, who were arrested during a raid by UP ATS at a hostel in Deoband town of Saharanpur on Friday, believed to have confessed before the interrogators that they were hiding in Uttar Pradesh to escape the mounting pressure by the India Army in Kashmir.
They also revealed to the ATS team that they were using virtual numbers to get in touch with their Jaish-e-Mohammad handlers in Kashmir and across the border and were directed to use only voice messages to contact them. As per the ATS officials, the two accused used a special application to have text and voice chats with their bosses. This application was similar to popular messaging apps. As per IG ATS, Asim Arun, the special application was used to dodge Intelligence agencies as the conversation through such application was difficult to intercept.
Sharing personal information, Shahnawaz Ahmad Teli told the agencies that his actual name was Nawaz Ahmad Teli and that his father was a carpenter on Kulgam, Kashmir. Shahnawaz claimed he had three siblings – a brother who was a teacher in a government school in Kashmir and two younger sisters. A graduation first year drop out and proficient in Arabi language, Shahnawaz revealed that he was taken away by the terrorists and was made to join the ‘jehad’ two years ago.
Both Shahnawaz and his aide Aquib admitted before the probe agencies that they were on the radar of Indian Army and were quizzed a number of times by the army authorities so they left Kashmir and came to Deoband. On the other, Aquib Ahmad Malik is the son of an apple grower in Pulwama, Kashmir. A
class XII pass out, Aquib came in touch with Jaish just six months back and he was radicalised.
Meanwhile, UP DGP OP Singh was also the part of the interrogation of the two terror suspects. The DGP grilled the two in his office for around four hours on Sunday. As per the ATS sources, the duo divulged to the interrogators that they had organised a party for a ‘special guest’ in their hostel but he left before the ATS crackdown. “They had cooked chicken for the special guest. We could establish that by the mobile intercept of the two suspects. But before we could reach there, he had already fled,” said a senior ATS official.
According to IG Asim Arun, ATS had some inputs about unknown people visiting the rented room of the two accused. He said the duo was quizzed about people who visited their room in a Deoband hostel, but they did not divulge. Another official assisting the investigation said the mobile intercepts of Shahnawaz, a resident of Pulwama (J&K), also revealed his conversation with some unknown caller in Kashmir after the attack; on CRPF troops in Pulwama on February 14.
The two operatives might be taken to their native places with the possibility of recoveries of explosives and firearms hidden there. The two operatives claimed that a number of illegal students were living in Deoband area. Meanwhile, the BJP MLAs of the adjoining constituencies have demanded the government to get a probe done by an independent agency to rule out the links of Darul-Uloom with terror outfits of Kashmir.