Srinagar: The security forces are on the lookout for a Pakistani terrorist, currently identified by his nickname ‘Chhota Walid’, who is believed to be the mastermind of the attacks targeting minorities over the last one week in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, ThePrint has learnt.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said the terrorist, who is believed to have had at least two previous stints in Kashmir, infiltrated into Indian territory around 20 days ago.
The sources said while the actual attacks are believed to have been carried out by local terrorists, the mastermind is ‘Chhota Walid’, who has been sent in to fire up terror activities.
Sources said several phone intercepts and inputs suggested that there is pressure on the local terrorists from their Pakistani handlers to carry out targeted attacks.
“There was reluctance on the part of local terrorists to carry out these orders. ‘Walid’ is believed to have infiltrated through the LoC around 20 days back to ensure that these attacks are carried out,” a source said.
According to security agencies, over the last two months, at least “four to five” groups of terrorists have managed to infiltrate in from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, with each group “traditionally” consisting of four to six terrorists.
While the Army has been able to neutralise certain infiltration bids, killing several terrorists and recovering a large cache of arms and ammunition, indications are that some groups managed to get in.
With local leadership gone, Pakistan sending ‘veterans’
Incidentally, ‘Chhota Walid’ is not the only “Kashmir veteran” to have come in, sources said. After the local leadership was wiped out over the last few years, Pakistan is attempting to provide leadership to the local terrorists by sending in older ones who have had previous stints, the sources added.
One of the terrorists killed in late September in an operation in Uri sector of the Line of Control was someone who looked in his late 30s, sources said. Another terrorist was caught alive.
“There have been sustained operations over the last few years which targeted the so-called leadership of these terror groups. The local leadership has been wiped out,” a second source said.
This source added that the effort now is to push in senior terrorists, who are in their 30s, to provide the relevant leadership.
Multiple search operations being carried out
The Jammu and Kashmir Police, along with other security forces, have been carrying out multiple search operations since the attacks on minority communities — Hindus and Sikhs — began on 5 October, which have claimed the lives of four Kashmiris and a street vendor from Bihar.
Sources said several Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of terror groups have been picked up and questioning is on.
The security agencies have identified about 4-5 local terrorists who are believed to have carried out the attacks. However, the agencies are tightlipped on the names, because they feel more targeted attacks could take place — the priority is to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Multiple teams are working on this issue, with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army, CRPF and the intelligence agencies working in coordination, the sources said.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)
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