As many as seven members of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide squad have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir to carry out Pulwama-like terror attack on Eid ul-Adha or ahead of the Independence Day, media reports quoted top intelligence sources as saying.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has given a go ahead to the banned terror group JeM headed by Masood Azhar to cause as many casualties as they can, without worrying about the "collateral damage".
Significantly, the inputs came days after Pakistan PM Imran Khan had warned Pulwama-like attacks would be repeated in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 by the Indian government. He had claimed it would be because locals in Jammu and Kashmir are being oppressed, but had failed to acknowledge how such attacks are always planned and supported by Pakistan's Army and/or ISI.
Police sources told the newspaper that a group of seven Jaish terrorists entered the region, south of Banihal and Pir Panjal mountain range. "We suspect they infiltrated from Rajouri or Poonch district," a top official said.
The report added that the attack has been planned by Masood Azhar’s brother, Abdul Rauf who is in charge of terror operations for the group.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack in February 14 in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. According to Zee News, ISI officials recently held a meeting with the top brass of JeM, including commander Mufti Asghar Rauf, in Rawalpindi.
Ahead of the Independence Day celebrations and on account of heightened threat potential due to the Kashmir issue, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has put as many as 19 airports of India on high alert.
It is to be noted that the alert has been issued for airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Imphal, Chennai, Kolkata, Amritsar, Thiruvananthapuram, Raipur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Srinagar, Patna, Guwahati, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Dehradun and Ahmedabad.
“In view of the continuous threat to the civil aviation sector received from central security agencies, it is necessary to enhance the existing security measures being taken at all civil aviation installations like airports, airstrips, airfields, Air Force stations, helipads, flying schools aviation training institutes, etc so that no untoward incident takes place during Independence Day celebrations (August 15). Utmost precautions need to be taken by all the stakeholders,” the BCAS noted in its letter dated August 5.
The BCAS has further asked airport operators to monitor non-scheduled flight operations, including air ambulance. The latest alert, signed by Deputy Director General of BCAS, Ayush Mani Tiwari, is marked to all state and Union territory DGPs as well as authorities managing the airports.
Following the alert, the central government has tightened security arrangements at 19 airports across the country — banning entry of visitors inside terminal buildings from August 10 to 20 and carrying out intensive random vehicle checks 1 km from airport buildings.
Centre, by an order from Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, has mandated additional security measures at the above mentioned airports until August 31 or until further orders.
Hindustan Times claimed that Jaish-e-Mohammed may escalate its attacks on security forces in the region and is likely to target Mumbai. The information was provided by intelligence agencies to the government, reported Hindustan Times.
The report added that the new piece of information indicates that Pakistan may be attempting to ramp up its support to terror groups. Hindustan Times added that a large number of JeM recruits are shifting from its camps in Punjab towards the border.
The newspaper quoted a top government as saying that the Mumbai could be one of the targets on the radar of the Jaish-e-Mohammed. The official added that a three-member Jaish team had been assigned the task of carrying out an attack in Mumbai and local sleeper cells had been activated.
The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, in a bid to tackle head-on the vexatious 72-year-old problem wracking the soul of the nation.