An uncle-nephew duo, arrested twice in the past, has been identified by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police as the men who led the attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on 10 July, journalist Rahul Pandita has reported in a story published on the blog India Up-Close.
According to the report, Mohammed Abbas Sheikh and his nephew Touseef Ahmad Sheikh led the attack along with three other terrorists. One of three other men involved in the attack was a Pakistani national, reportedly associated with Inter-Services Intelligence-aided terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Both Abbas Sheikh and Ahmad Sheikh, who were originally from LeT, have been reportedly with the cadre of Hizbul Mujahideen for the past one year.
Residents of Qaimoh in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, they have been a part of various terror attacks and criminal activities such as drug trading, cattle smuggling and the smuggling of gold coins.
Citing an unnamed source, the report says that two were involved in a grenade attack on a bus transporting Amarnath pilgrims on 6 July. This attack, which left one pilgrim dead and 15 others were injured, was reportedly passed off as a cylinder blast by the government to avoid communal flareups.
The report states, citing a source, that the investigating agencies have been under pressure from the state government to not reveal the involvement of locals in the attack. The source said that Abbas Sheikh and Ahmad Sheikh were provided shelter for a night by a man from a certain area in South Kashmir where many men work as truck drivers.
“The government fears that once the details of the attack are revealed, truck drivers, many of whom will be inevitably from this area, may be targeted by irate Hindu mobs, especially on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, leading to an escalation in tension,” the report quotes the source as saying.
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