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Militants using some Kashmiri students in Punjab to procure weapons from India’s Bihar: police chief claims

Pro-freedom militants are procuring weapons from India’s eastern state of Bihar, the Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbagh Singh has claimed.

At a press conference, the Director General of Police said that militants were using Kashmiri students studying in India’s Punjab to smuggle illegal weapons from Bihar into the disputed Himalayan region.

Singh’s remarks come as the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed that the Khalistani groups were behind the protests by farmers mostly from Punjab and Haryana.

The police chief made the claim after the arrest of two top militant commanders Hidayatullah Malik and Zahoor Ahmad Rather, of Lashkar-e-Mustafa (LeM) and The Resistance Front respectively.

Malik was arrested on February 6 by the Anantnag police from Kunjwani in Jammu district while Rather was apprehended on February 13 from Bari Brahmana area of Samba district.

Singh claimed these two groups, LeM and TRF, are frontal organisations of Pakistan-based JeM and Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) to give “Kashmiri name’ to their militant activities. “Malik has been leading LeM floated last August although he had been an active militant for a long time. He had worked as an overground worker and floated the group on the directions of JeM,” said Singh.

Malik was also planning to set up a base in Jammu to carry forward militant activities in the region besides receiving arms and ammunition, being smuggled from Pakistan through underground tunnels on the border or being dropped by drones before being smuggled to Kashmir, he said. 

Singh said JeM was involved in various terror activities in 2018 and Malik’s interrogation revealed that he was also a close associate of JeM commander Ashiq Nengroo who used to receive arms consignments from Pakistan in Jammu before escaping to the neighbouring country along with his family through an underground tunnel on the international border.

The BSF has detected six underground tunnels along the IB in Jammu region over the past six months. 

Malik, a resident of south Kashmir, had also set up a network to get weapons from Bihar and soured seven pistols from there till now and got them distributed among militants, the DGP said.

“He had also roped in some students from Kashmir, studying in Punjab, and had been using them for any action in Kashmir or Jammu or transporting weapons from outside,” said Singh.

In this context, the DGP also cited the example of a Kashmir-based nursing student in Chandigarh college who was arrested along with a seven-kg improvised explosive device from Jammu’s general bus stand area.

The DGP said Malik was also involved in looting of ₹60 lakh from a bank’s cash van last November.

This was established after the arrest of his four accomplices, including his wife, in this crime, he added.

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