NIA chargesheets five in Rajouri attack case

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has formally charged three absconding Pakistan-based handlers affiliated with the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and two other individuals in connection with the Rajouri attacks that occurred in January 2023. 

The case pertains to a terrorist attack on civilians in the village of Dhangri in Rajouri district on January 1 last year, followed by an IED blast the following day. Tragically, seven innocent people, including two children, lost their lives, and numerous others sustained severe injuries in these attacks.

According to the NIA, the three LeT handlers – Saifullah alias Sajid Jutt alias Ali alias Habibullah alias Numan alias Langda alias Noumi, Mohd Qasim, and Abu Qatal alias Qatal Sindhi – orchestrated the recruitment and dispatch of LeT terrorists from Pakistan. Their primary targets were innocent civilians, particularly from the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as security personnel.

“The attacks were carried out under the directions of these Pakistan-based handlers,” states the NIA.

“Saifullah is currently a highly placed LeT Commander and was responsible for engineering the overall conspiracy from Pakistan, along with the other two. Mohd Qasim is presently the right hand of highly placed LeT Commanders. Abu Qatal had come to India in 2002-03 and was active in the Poonch-Rajouri range, along with other terrorists,” the NIA further revealed.

The other two accused, Nisar Ahmed alias Haji Nisar and Mushtaq Hussain alias Chacha, both Overground workers (OGWs) of the LeT, were residents of Mohra, Gursai, Tehsil Mendhar, District Poonch. These individuals were arrested during the NIA’s investigations.

“It was found during investigations that they had provided logistical support to the terrorists on the directions of Abu Qatal,” says the NIA.

“Along with a juvenile, who was also apprehended for aiding and abetting the perpetrators, they had provided food, shelter, and other types of logistics support to the terrorists for approximately three months following the attack in Dhangri. They had also attempted to conceal evidence by destroying the mobile phone used for clandestine communication with the Pakistan-based LeT commanders,” the NIA added.

As per the anti-terror agency, Nisar had also received a consignment of arms, ammunition, and cash sent by the Pakistan-based handlers for the terrorists.

“Investigations have revealed that Nisar had come in contact with Abu Qatal during the latter’s stay in India. He had remained in touch with Abu Qatal even after the latter’s return to Pakistan.”

In the chargesheet, the two arrested adult accused and the Pak-based handlers have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code, said the NIA.

“The Final Report against the apprehended juvenile will be submitted to the Juvenile Justice Board, Rajouri in due course,” it added.