NIA releases two Pakistanis held for Uri attack links

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Duo handed over to Army in Jammu to be sent back home.

Army personnel in action inside the Army Brigade camp during a terror attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo: PTI/ file)

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday handed over to the Army two Pakistani youths, whom it had arrested in connection with 2016’s terror attack on a military base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri that had killed 19 soldiers. Sources in the NIA said that they handed over Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Khursheed to the Army’s 16 Corps headquarters in Jammu, and that they would be sent back home. Sources added that the NIA’s probe “revealed that the two suspects had crossed over to the Indian side after altercations with their parents due to pressure of studies”.

“Evidence collected in the form of statements, technical analysis of their mobile phones, seized GPS devices and other circumstantial evidence collected by the NIA did not reveal any linkage of the suspects with the Uri attackers,” sources said. It was initially suspected that the two youths acted as guides for the Uri attackers. On September 18 2016, four heavily-armed militants had stormed the Uri Army base camp in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 19 soldiers and injuring others. The NIA had taken over the investigation in the case from the state police. The two youths were arrested by the BSF and the Army in a joint operation.

Meanwhile, an NIA team reached Bhopal on Wednesday to look into the train blast case in Madhya Pradesh, which is suspected to be a terror attack.

According to sources, officials of the NIA may visit the site of the blast near Jabri railway station under Shajapur district, about 60 kilometres from Bhopal. They said the NIA officials would interact with Madhya Pradesh police personnel and verify leads available with them to ascertain whether the explosion was a terror attack.

Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh said on Tuesday that the initial investigation suggested the blast was a terror attack, and investigation was underway to unravel the conspiracy behind the incident. At least ten people were injured, three of them seriously, in the blast on the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train. Intelligence IG Makrand Deoskar had said the blast was carried out “by planting an improvised explosive device (IED)”.