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PoK police ‘arrests two Indian spies’, Kashmiri man identifies one as missing brother

The arrested duo were made to address the media in blindfold, where they ‘confessed’ that they had been forced to cross over into PoK by a trooper of the Territorial Army.

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Srinagar: Police in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir claimed to have arrested “two Indian spies” in Gilgit-Baltistan Friday. According to police in PoK, the two are residents of Achora village in the Gurez tehsil of Jammu & Kashmir’s Bandipora district. 

The duo, Muhammad Wani and Feroz Ahmad Lone, were subsequently made to address the media in blindfold, where they claimed to be from Jammu & Kashmir and “confessed” that they had been forced to cross over into PoK by a trooper of the Territorial Army (TA). 

Approached for comment, Kashmir Inspector General Vijay Kumar said they were looking into the matter. Army sources in Srinagar said they are looking into the matter as well. However, a Kashmiri man from Gurez told ThePrint that one of the two men caught in PoK was his brother, who had gone missing in 2018 and was subsequently declared dead. 

He said his brother’s phone records had shown him to have been in touch with a Territorial Army trooper called Rouf Ahmed before he went missing. 

Speaking to ThePrint on the phone, Zahoor Lone, who claims to be Feroz Ahmad Lone’s elder brother, said he was shocked “today when I saw the video of my brother narrating his ordeal”. 

“I have informed my family and we will take legal action against Rouf Ahmed. My brother, in the video, is clearly saying that it was Rouf who forced them to go into Pakistan,” he added.

Also Read: Pakistani officials caught ‘trying to obtain Indian security documents’ in espionage row

‘Know the family of second man too’ 

According to Lone, Feroz went missing in November 2018.

“My brother worked as a village-level worker (VLW) in the rural development department. The same year, he had got engaged,” said Lone, adding that he was himself based in Jammu at the time.

“In November, I got a call from my family that Feroz has gone missing. Initially, I thought he must have gone out with his friends but, when we couldn’t contact him, I told my family to file a missing complaint,” he added. “I then left Jammu to reach my village,” said Lone, who owns a mobile repair shop in Jammu.

Police investigations into his brother’s call detail records revealed that Feroz had made calls to several people before going off the grid, Lone added. “All of those people were picked up. The last call was made to someone named Rouf Ahmed, who is posted with the 175 battalion of the Territorial Army. He was summoned, too, but he denied knowing my brother. He was let go.” 

Police, Lone said, later told the family that they had arrested a woman Feroz had called up, who claimed to have killed him. The woman allegedly told police that she had dumped the body in a river but the body was never found. “But we took her confession as the truth and tried to move on. Sometime later, the woman was released by police. I knew since then that something was wrong,” said Zahoor Lone.

“I used to approach senior officials of the district administration, police force but I wasn’t given a clear answer. Now that my brother has emerged in a video, I want authorities to get him back. If the TA has sent him there, they should get him back,” he added.

Lone said he also knew the family of the other man caught in POK, Muhammad Wani, but was not in touch with them. 

Asked about the arrests, IG Kashmir Vijay Kumar said “police do not have any information about this until now but we are looking into the matter”.

Also Read: Pigeons aren’t first. India-Pakistan have long been sending deer, monkey spies


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