Srinagar, Feb 16 (PTI) : Ten people allegedly working as ‘overground workers’ (OGWs) of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group were arrested by the State Investigation Agency (SIA), a newly carved-out wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, officials said on Wednesday.
SIA officials conducted raids overnight at various locations in the South and Central district of Kashmir, during which the arrests were made, they said. The SIA was constituted recently, and the agency has a mandate to investigate crimes connected with terrorism and secessionism. The officials said the 10 people, who were working independently or as ‘sleeper cells’ of the banned terror group, were identified during a probe carried out by the SIA. Neither of them were aware about each other’s activities and were taking instructions from JeM terrorist commanders directly.
“The module, whose members were organised into sub-modules in the form of verticals so that in the event of detection of one member, the bigger network does not get compromised, had been painstakingly discovered through discreet surveillance, in which corroborative intelligence capable of being converted into admissible evidence in court was used to ascertain and confirm the JeM membership of these individuals,” one of the officials said.
Those arrested were active in recruiting young people, arranging finances, and transporting weapons in south and central Kashmir, besides providing other logistic support. During searches, cell phones, SIM cards, records to show use of banking channels and even a dummy pistol were seized. Among those arrested is a person at whose house four terrorists were killed on April 4, 2020, the officials said.
The aim of the alleged OGWs was to work towards furthering terror activities in south and central Kashmir and were mostly recruiting vulnerable school and college-going students as a few of them are students themselves, they said. Digital records seized from them are being sent to a forensic laboratory for evidence analysis.