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Schoolteacher’s arrest leads to major breakthrough in Jammu blasts

By Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Srinagar, Feb 3: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have achieved a major breakthrough in at least six terror attacks in Jammu-including a bomb blast in which four Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims were killed and 22 injured-after arresting a government schoolteacher in the Reasi district.

Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh, said that Mohammad Arif, a resident of Reasi district, was arrested after his involvement in different terror and subversive activities was established during the investigation of the twin blasts caused at an automobile workshop in Narwal area of Jammu city on 21 January. Seven civilians were injured in the blasts.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in collaboration with the J&K Police, is investigating almost all the terror incidents, including the twin blasts at Narwal, which occurred in Jammu province in 2021-23.

DGP said that Arif was a regular government employee who worked as an active terrorist with one Qasim of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, whose uncle Qamaruddin of Reasi was currently operating from a base of LeT in Pakistan. He said that during sustained interrogation, Arif admitted his involvement in a number of terror attacks, including an IED blast at Shastri Nagar and twin blasts at Narwal. He also confessed to his involvement in a sticky bomb blast on a bus near Katra in which 4 pilgrims had died and 22 sustained injuries on 12 May 2022.

DGP said that Arif had destroyed all evidence of his involvement in these terror attacks, including a mobile phone, but the Police worked hard and got many of the proofs retrieved. While the blast on the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrim bus was caused on bus number JK-14 1831 with a sticky bomb, apparently a different device was used in the blasts at Narwal.

“So far we had seen IEDs with explosive materials, sticky bombs and timer-fitted IEDs but a new type of IED was seized from Arif. It is a perfumed IED, some sort of a perfume bottle which we haven’t touched so far,” DGP said and disclosed that ballistic and forensic experts were still examining the same. “The main aim of these blasts was to target innocent civilians and to generate communal hatred in Jammu,” DGP asserted.

DGP said that Arif had been receiving arms, ammunition and cash through drones from Pakistan and later distributing the same among the members of his terror network.

Later DGP Dilbag Sing revealed to India Narrative that Arif had been recruited as a teacher for a government school under the Rehbar-e-Taleem scheme in the year 2010. His services were regularised by Mehbooba Mufti’s government in 2016 and he was posted at Government Middle School Pagihala, in Gulab Garh area of Reasi in the Pir Panjal mountain range. He developed contact with the LeT commanders and operated as a terrorist but continued to draw his salary from the Government. DGP said that the UT’s Home Department would recommend termination of Arif’s services for his involvement in terrorism.

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