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    How terrorists obtain valid visas with the help of Kashmiri separatists

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    The National Investigation Agency which is probing the Nagrota Army camp attack made a startling revelation. Investigations had found that the terrorists part of the plan had visited Pakistan several times on valid visas based on the recommendations made by the Kashmiri separatists.

    File photo of Nagrota Army camp

    The line from the interrogation report states, "in furtherance to the conspiracy to conduct attacks on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorist Ashiq Baba visited Pakistan four times crossing the Wagah border (between 2015 to 2017) legally. He obtained his visas after getting reference letters from Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Gillani, Gani Bhat and Maulana Umar Farooq. During his visits, he met with JeM commanders and took directions from them after getting clearance from a local ISI agent."

    Now this is not the first time that such an occurrence has taken place. In July last year, when Hizbul Mujahideen recruitment module was busted, a similar modus operandi was found. Abdul Rashid Bhat, one of the accused arrested in that case had visited Pakistan in May 2017. He visited Pakistan on a valid visa and then returned to Kashmir to actively recruit youth into the Hizbul Mujahideen, the police had found.

    Investigations revealed that there were five more such instances and the probe led up to the recommendations given by the Hurriyat leaders. It was found that the Hurriyat leaders and the Pakistan high commission were hand in glove with each other.

    Investigations showed that the terrorists would approach the separatists and seek a letter of recommendation from them. They would send in their application to the Pakistan high commission along with the letter of recommendation.

    This modus operandi is more or less fool proof. These terrorists operating in India have found to be with valid documents such as passports and visas. In all the cases, it was found that the Pakistan high commission, the terrorists and the separatists had acted in tandem.

    Sources say that this issue must be taken up directly with Pakistan so that there are curbs on such occurences. Government sources say that the matter would be taken up and currently there is heavy scrutiny. We are awaiting the full reports of the investigations and will not only ensure that the matter is taken up, but also curbed completely.

    The grant of visa to Baba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad operative proved extremely costly. He guided the Nagrota attack in which seven army personnel were martyred. Baba who had made the visit to Pakistan was also the man who received the Pakistani terrorists who carried out the attack. He and his accomplice were given GPS coordinates of the receiving point along the Samba sector highway as well as the possible targets along the Nagrota Army cantonment. On the 28th of November 2016, they received the three attackers from the Jaish. They were dropped off at Khrew near Pampore.

    Once the attack was over, Baba went to Pakistan in May 2017 again on valid documents and met with Jaish leaders Abu Talha, Waseem and Mufti Asghar. He also met with Maulana Rauf, the brother of Jaish chief, Maulana Masood Azhar at Bhawalpur, the headquarters of the outfit. He was assured of financial rewards and also told to be prepared to receive more terrorists along the border. He was told to open an account either with the HDFC or ICICI bank to receive the funds and reward. The amount was transferred and during the questioning Baba told the NIA that the amount had come from an account in a Gulf nation.

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