Pulwama attack: NIA will file 5,000-page charge-sheet, naming Azhar, soon
More than a year after India was shaken by a terror attack in Pulwama, Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency will file a charge-sheet at a special NIA court in Jammu today, naming Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Asghar as the masterminds. The over 5,000-page long document also carries evidence of Pakistan's direct involvement with the attack. Here's more.
Context: In February last year, India lost 40 CRPF soldiers
On February 14, 2019, a CRPF convoy came under attack by a suicide bomber, employed by Pakistan-based Jaish. Terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar rammed the convoy on Srinagar highway, triggering an explosion, and leaving 40 soldiers dead. The attack, condemned across the globe, prompted India to launch Balakot airstrikes, an unparalleled operation wherein IAF jets breached Pakistani airspace to drop bombs on Jaish's biggest camp.
20 people have been named as accused
After the shocking dastardly attack, a probe was launched and Jaish's role became clearer. The NIA charge-sheet reportedly mentions 20 accused, some of them from Pakistan and few from Kashmir. As per HT, Jaish's footsoldiers from the Valley, namely Shakir Bashir Magrey, Mohammad Abbas Rather, Mohammad Iqbal Rather, Waiz-ul-Islam, Insha Jan, Tariq Ahmad Shah, and Bilal Ahmed Kuchey, were mentioned for helping in logistics.
NIA also explained the role of Kashmir-based terrorists in attack
Reportedly, Shakir drove the vehicle but left it 500 meter away from the site, from where Adil drove it. He also monitored the movement of the convoy and kept others informed. Meanwhile, Budgam resident Iqbal Rather, NIA said, transported Pakistan-based terrorists to Kashmir. And Bilal Ahmed Kuchey obtained high-end phones for Jaish, one of which was used for filming the attack.
Killed terrorists also figure in the charge-sheet
The others who feature in charge-sheet are Pakistan-based terrorist Mohammad Umar Farooq, a terrorist named Kamran who was transported across the border to execute the attack and Jaish's area commander Mudassir Khan. All three of them were gunned down in March 2019 in separate operations. Reports said the lengthy charge-sheet is replete with evidence — technical, material, and circumstantial — to incriminate the accused.
Azhar's audio, video recordings; photos part of charge-sheet
According to NDTV, the charge-sheet has call recordings and WhatsApp chats. Photos of explosives, including that of RDX being transported, which was recovered from Umar Farooq's phone, is also mentioned. A post in Jaish's Telegram group that claimed 100 "Indian Hindu soldiers were killed and destroyed" is also cited, and so are Azhar's video and audio recordings where he hailed the attack.
NIA is also convinced of ISI's role in the attack
Reportedly, NIA's charge-sheet also provides evidence of Pakistan's involvement and blames spy agency ISI for helping Jaish. The agency said ISI wanted to show the attack stemmed from "home-grown militancy." The charge-sheet comes at a time when Indian intelligence agencies are on alert after Jaish and ISI met on August 20, considering that they held a meeting before the Pulwama attack as well.