Paper found on Pathankot terrorists genuine, says lab

It was dated December 25, 2015 — the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover at Pakistan Prime Minister’s Lahore residence.

May 26, 2016 03:51 am | Updated 03:51 am IST - New Delhi

An Urdu statement written in English alphabet and signed by the Afzal Guru Squad of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — claiming responsibility for the Pathankot terror attacks — has been found to be genuine during a forensic analysis, said a senior government official.

The piece of paper was recovered from the car of Punjab Police officer Salwinder Singh whose vehicle was snatched by JeM terrorists to reach the airbase after they crossed over to India on the intervening night of December 31-January 1.

It assumes significance as it was dated December 25, 2015 — the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover at Pakistan Prime Minister’s residence in Lahore on his way back home from a day-long trip to Afghanistan.

“We had sent the paper for forensic analysis and we have been told that it was indeed written on December 25 and JeM launched its terrorists into India on December 31,” said the official.

Masood shifted

A senior official said on Wednesday that Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, along with other suspects wanted by India — Abdul Rauf and Shahid Latif, had been shifted to a safe house at Mauzgarh Fort near Bahawalpur in Pakistan.

Bahawalpur is the headquarters of JeM, where Azhar was living all this while.

The 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged to death in 2013 has emerged as the common link in at least three attacks on police and Army camps along the Jammu-Pathankot highway in the past one year.

Revenge for Afzal hanging

Investigators had also found one more piece of paper, written in Urdu, on the body of one of the four terrorists who were killed in the Pathankot operation.

After a forensic analysis was done on this paper, it was also found to be genuine. It also said that the attacks were a revenge for Afzal Guru’s hanging.

Similar chits were found on the bodies of intruders who were gunned down during an attack on a police post at Rajbagh police station in Kathua, Jammu on March 20, 2015 and the attack on an Army camp in nearby Samba on March 21, 2015. A senior NIA official said that both the pieces of paper seized during the Pathankot operation had the same content.

The one in English alphabets had Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) written on top of the page and it was signed by A.G.S (Afzal Guru Squad). Dated December 25, 2015 it said the group had planned attacks to avenge the death of Afzal Guru.

Other paper in Urdu

The other paper was found tucked in the jacket of one of the four terrorists, the only difference being, this was written in Urdu, said the official.

The NIA team has been closely studying the similarities between the Pathankot and Samba-Kathua attacks. An official said that even the AK-47 rifles used by the terrorists in all these incidents were similar in nature.

In all the three incidents, similar pieces of paper have been found.

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