10 Jaish militant associates arrested in Kashmir: SIA

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Srinagar: State Investigation Agency (SIA) claimed to have arrested ten “identified” persons for allegedly working as Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of Jaish-e-Mohammad during raids in south and central Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.

“The SIA was constituted recently with mandate to investigate (cases) connected with (militancy) and secessionism, conducted overnight raids at ten different locations in various districts of south and central Kashmir,” SIA said in a statement to GNS.

“These raids were primarily focused on the network of JeM. Ten identified persons who were part of OGW modules and taking instructions from (JeM) commanders have been arrested,” it said, adding, “The module whose members were organised in to sub-modules, in the form of verticals, so that in the event of detection of one member the bigger network does not get compromised had been painstakingly discovered through discreet surveillance in which corroborative intelligence capable of being converted to admissible evidence in court was used to ascertain and confirm the OGW membership of the individuals.”

The “module”, the SIA said, could be connected to other modules through higher levels of JeM leadership. “Their discovery is likely as the investigation rolls out in coming days,” the SIA said.

The detected portion of the module, it said, had been active in recruiting other young persons, arranging finances, transporting weapons in south and central Kashmir besides providing other logistic support.

“In the searches, besides arrests, cell phones, SIM cards, records to show use of banking channels and even a dummy pistol were seized.” Among arrested persons, there is one at whose house four militants had been killed on 4 April 2020, it said.

“The hitherto unknown module was working towards furthering (militant) activities in south and central Kashmir,” the SIA said.

The arrested members were mostly recruiting vulnerable “school and college” going students as a few of them are students themselves, the SIA said.

They were in close connection with the regular militants of JeM outfit and had been under surveillance for quite some time, the SIA said.

“The digital records seized is being sent to FSL for evidence analysis and the arrested persons would be presented before the NIA court in Srinagar seeking permission for custodial questioning,” the SIA said, adding, “It is believed the arrests and subsequent follow up investigation would dent the upper ground network of (JeM) and degrade its ability to undertake (militant) activities across valley.” (GNS)

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