Tahlka News Bureau
New Delhi: Law Enforcement authorities of PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) known as Azad kashmir in the neighbouring country, claimed to have arrested three Indian intelligence agents for alleged anti-state activities on Friday.
Pakistani daily Dawn reported that the charges levelled against the three "Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) recruits" included bombing a police station in the region.
PoK police identified the suspects as Mohammad Khalil, Imtiaz and Rashid, all residents of Taroti village in Abbaspur. The trio was produced before mediapersons at a briefing by senior police officers in Rawalkot, their faces covered with masks.
Poonch deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Sajid Imran was quoted as saying that Khalil, the main suspect, had come into contact with RAW officials while visiting his relatives at Bandi Chechian village in India-held Kashmir in November 2014. Upon his return, Khalil allegedly recruited fellow villagers Imtiaz and Rashid to work with him for "handsome returns".
According to Imran, Khalil confessed to crossing the LoC nearly 15 times over the last two years. His accomplices, on the other hand, admitted to going over to the other side on at least six occasions.
"Khalil would take cigarettes and cellphone memory cards with him, besides pictures of bridges, mosques and security installations," the DSP said, adding that the suspect had given at least two active SIM cards to Indian officials.
Imran claimed that Khalil was tasked by RAW with carrying out a bomb blast at any Pakistani security installation, for which they offered him Rs 5 lakh. Imtiaz and Rashid were supposed to get Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 from that amount respectively.
"On September 27 last year, they chose a police station in Abbaspur as a soft target. There were no casualties, even though the building was damaged," the DSP said, adding that the improvised explosive device used for the purpose was brought from across the LoC.
However, Indian officials refused to release the pledged money to the three because they were unable to provide a newspaper report as proof of their action, the police officer said.
Imran said police finally caught wind of the suspects' activities when somebody reported seeing them with a "suspicious-looking shopping bag" in Abbaspur on the night of September 26. "We tracked their movements and phone calls, and finally got hold of them with the help of intelligence agencies two days ago," he added.
The three have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and Explosives Act, reported Dawn.
This incident comes days after a Pakistani army court sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, to death for espionage and anti-state activities. Diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan plunged following Jadhav's conviction, with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj warning Islamabad of "consequences" if Jadhav's death sentence was carried out.
Jadhav was reportedly captured in Balochistan in March last year. He was tried by a field general court martial under provisions of the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
Jadhav can appeal the death sentence to Pakistan's Supreme Court within 60 days.