The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed charge-sheet against 12 operatives and terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad, including its founder-chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother, for planning an attack on the Prime Minister’s rally and engaging the security forces in an encounter in Jammu in April 2022.
A case had been filed by the NIA in Jammu following a terror strike at Sunjwan on 22 April 2022, in which two terrorists and an Assistant Sub Inspector of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were killed ahead of the Prime Minister’s rally in Samba on 24 April 2022.
Following completion of the investigation, the charge-sheet was filed in the NIA’s designated court in Jammu against 12 accused persons. They included Pakistan-based JeM founder-chief Masood Azhar, his brother Rouf Asgar Alvi and two anonymous terrorists who got killed in the encounter. According to the charge-sheet, the accused terrorists had been launched into India from Pakistan through an underground border tunnel in Jammu’s Samba district.
While Jaish-e-Mohammad is a UN and USA-designated global terror group, Masood Azhar has been designated as a global terrorist by the UN, the United States of America and some other countries after years of resistance from China. Masood Azhar was among the three high-profile terrorists who were released by India in exchange for the hostages of the Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 hijacked from Kathmandu in December 1999. Azhar’s group was initially known as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. After his release, he named it as Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
According to the Indian demarches, JeM was responsible for hundreds of terror attacks including a suicide strike on the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in October 2001, the Indian Parliament in December 2001, the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in 2016, a military formation at Uri in 2016 and the deadliest fidayeen attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama, near Awantipora in February 2019. At least three of Azhar’s family members have died in different encounters in the Kashmir valley.
Officials said that the JeM planned an attack during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first public visit to Jammu and Kashmir. On 24 April 2022, Prime Minister was scheduled to address a massive rally of the members of the Panchayati Raj Institutions on occasion of the Panchayat Diwas at Palli in Jammu’s Samba district. However, the terror plan got leaked and the security forces launched a search operation after learning about the presence of two JeM terrorists at Sunjwan, on the outskirts of Jammu, on 22 April 2022.
The terrorists hiding in the cantonment area attacked a bus of the CISF in which one ASI got killed. In retaliation, security forces eliminated both the unidentified terrorists. The NIA charge-sheet says that the duo had been launched through an underground tunnel on the International Border in Samba.
“This tunnel had been excavated on the International Border in the area falling under BOP Chack Faqira in the Samba sector in J&K in order with the intention of disrupting the scheduled visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister in the Jammu region of J&K. The movement of the said terrorists was intercepted by the security forces and both terrorists were killed in an encounter with the security forces in the area of Sunjwan, Jammu, J&K”, a press release from the NIA said.
Five Kashmiri operatives of the JeM, named in the charge-sheet, who have already been arrested, were produced before the special court. They have been remanded to judicial custody and lodged in a jail.