A Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist was apprehended at the Indo-Nepal border in Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh as he was trying to cross into the country to carry out terror activities, according to officials.
Naseer Ahmed alias Sadiq, 34, hailing from Banihal in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, was held on Saturday evening from Sonauli border post. He was trying to sneak into India from Nepal in the guise of a shawl and carpet vendor, the Sashastra Seema Bal, which guards the 1,751-km-long open border, said.
He was carrying a Pakistani passport and an identity card of being a resident of Lala Musa village in Gujrat district in Punjab province of the neighbouring country, it said.
Ahmed was handed over to the Uttar Pradesh ATS for further investigation.
According to security agencies, Ahmed had joined Hizbul Muzahideen in 2002-03 and moved to Pakistan. He was involved in a number of terrorist activities. In 2002, he sustained bullet injuries during an encounter with the Army in Banihal.
“Ahmed was residing in Pakistan since September, 2003. He was involved in many attacks against civilians and security forces including an attack on an STF camp in India in 2003. He was sent to India by his handler for a specific mission,” an SSB spokesperson said.
When he was asked for his identity proof by the SSB personnel at Sonauli, Ahmed was unable to produce any supporting documents, the spokesperson said.
The paramilitary, based on initial interrogation of the terrorist, said Ahmed and his associate Mohd Shafi landed in Kathmandu on May 10 from Faisalabad in Pakistan via Sharjah. Shafi separated from him in Kathmandu.
A top security official said that Ahmed's name did not figure in the list, maintained by Jammu and Kashmir police, of those who want to shun terrorism and are desirous of returning to the Kashmir Valley for rehabilitation.
“Ahmed was apprehended by SSB based on its own intelligence inputs and profiling,” the spokesperson said.
The SSB said Ahmed reached the Indo-Nepal border in a bus ‘with an intention to sneak into Indian territory and carry out terrorist activities in India’.
“He was in touch with a handler from India, who used to deposit money, in his account, off and on. On his instructions, he came to India for undertaking terrorist activities but was apprehended by the SSB,” the spokesperson said, adding the handler who provided him money has been identified.
Ahmed had crossed over to Pakistan in 2003 in a group of 23 people to join the Hizbul cadre.
He was trained in unarmed combat and weapon handling at Atak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan by Hizbul Mujahideen, Inter-Services Intelligence and the Pakistan Army ‘with an aim of waging war against India and to fight with Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’.
“Ahmed revealed he used to preach Quran to Hizbul cadres during his stay at various camps,” the spokesperson said.
In Pakistan, he married Asha Naeem, 25, of Gujrat district on November 2, 2009. He had two sons. He also started a hosiery business in Gujrat district of Pakistan, the official said.
The SSB said Ahmed sustained two bullet injuries during an encounter with security forces in Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. He was among the terrorists who exploded mines during polls in the same year in which two civilians and as many army personnel were killed.
Ahmed was part of the terrorist team that attacked the Special Task Force camp in Ramsoo near Banihal in 2003, the spokesperson added.
He will be produced by the ATS in court and his custody will be sought for further interrogation, the officer said.