J&K BJP Denies Alleged Links With LeT’s Most-Wanted Captured Member
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has vehemently denied the alleged links with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) member Talib Hussain Shah, who along with another militant Faizal Ahmed Dar, was captured by the residents of Tuksan Dhok village, Reasi district, on Sunday.
LeT member Talib Hussain Shah (left), who along with another militant Faizal Ahmed Dar, was captured by the residents of Tuksan Dhok village, Reasi district, on Sunday.
According to the J&K Police, two AK-47s, seven grenades, a pistol and a large quantity of ammunition were seized from Shah and Dar, who belong to Rajouri and Pulwama, respectively. “The villagers of Tukson Dhok showed extreme courage in apprehending two most-wanted terrorists who had reached that area to take shelter after continuous pressure from the police and the Army,” a police spokesperson said.
Soon after the militants were captured, purported pictures of Shah with J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina emerged on social media causing a flutter in the Union Territory.
One of the pictures showed Raina presenting a bouquet to Shah, who was earlier with a local news channel, and a letter issued by the BJP’s Jammu Minority Morcha (MM) president Sheikh nominating him as the MM’s new IT and social media-in-charge on May 9.
The pictures triggered a war of words between the party and the Congress. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the BJP of “using criminal lumpen elements … to perpetuate their agenda of communal division and hatred”.
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) said in a statement that the BJP should explain the “presence of militants” in its party ranks.
Shah’s alleged links to the J&K BJP come days after
purported pictures of Mohammad Riaz Attari, one of the two killers of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal, with BJP leaders Irshad Chainwala and Mohammad Tahir were cited by the Congress in alleging links between the killer and the party.
“The main culprit in the sensational Udaipur murder was also an active member of the ruling BJP and now the arrest and identification of LET commander of Peer Panjal Range Talib Hussain Shah as a senior office-bearer of the BJP is a matter of great concern,” the Congress said on Sunday.
The Congress not only questioned the BJP for giving “entry to antinational and antisocial elements” but also raised concerns over the party’s decision to assign them important positions. “The party owes an explanation to the nation and the countrymen for such irresponsible conduct being the ruling party despite having easy access to intelligence inputs about the credentials of such antinational elements,” the Congress added.
Lashing out at the BJP, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday accused the BJP of using vigilantism and terror to “perpetuate communal hatred”.
“First the Udaipur murderer & now an LeT militant caught in Rajouri both have active links to the BJP. The ruling party is using criminal lumpen elements be it cow vigilantes or terrorists to perpetuate their agenda of communal division & hatred,” Mufti tweeted.
“Imagine if any of these culprits were associated with any opposition leader. By now multiple FIRs would be lodged & godi media would lap it up by devoting endless prime time space to discredit the opposition,” she added.
Facing intense heat, J&K BJP spokesperson Abhinav Sharma on Monday refuted the allegations saying that Shah might have been appointed to the post by Bashir, which is being investigated, in an “unofficial capacity”.
“He visited the office of party president Ravinder Raina as a journalist. His visits were part of a conspiracy to carry out a recce against Raina, who is a serious critic of Pakistan and militancy. There is no official record with BJP that says he was a worker of BJP,” Sharma said during a presser in Trikuta Nagar, Jammu.
Raina too dismissed the allegations saying that the militants “were part of a conspiracy hatched from Pakistan to target him and the party headquarters”.
“He [Shah] introduced himself as a journalist and took my interviews several times at my party office sometime back. He developed a close liaison with party activists and leaders after coming to our headquarters [Trikuta Nagar, Jammu],” Raina told PTI.
According to Raina, Shah was a mole planted by Pakistan-based terrorists to target the BJP headquarters and the leadership, including him. “The arrest of the duo is a big success for the security forces as a major conspiracy of Pakistan has been thwarted. I also came to know that he had shared the pictures of the BJP headquarters with his handlers across the border,” he said.
Raina also claimed that he was also warned by security agencies that Shah was keeping a close watch on his movement in Rajouri and Poonch and was passing the information to his handlers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The Rajouri police had recently seized a large number of IEDs after an LeT module was busted following which Shah was declared an “absconder” and a bounty was announced on him.
Shah, the police said, was in “touch with LeT militant Qasim, based in Pakistan, and involved in, at least, three IED blasts in Rajouri district besides civilian killings and grenade blasts”.
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