New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a closure report in the case relating to two guides from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who allegedly helped terrorists attack an army camp in Uri on September 18 last year.
According to reports, the two youths — Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Khursheed — are likely to be returned to Pakistan as part of a ‘goodwill arrangement’ between the two countries under which Indian soldier Chandu Chavan was sent back by Pakistan last month. No evidence has been found against the youths, necessitating their release, the report said.
The NIA decided to file the closure report after its probe did not find evidence to corroborate the initial "confessional statement" the two youths made to the Indian Army, the report. The youths were arrested on September 21 last year, 3 days after the attack which killed 19 Indian security forces.
The NIA probe found them to be youths who inadvertently crossed over from PoK, who had no links to the attack, the report said.
Once the NIA special court approves the closure report, the two youths will be free to return to their families in PoK.
The modalities of their return to PoK are likely to be decided by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
According to the NIA statement of September 27, 2016, Awan and Khursheed had during their interrogation soon after their arrest, "disclosed that they were tasked by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commanders to facilitate the infiltration of a group of four JeM cadres who carried out the Uri Army camp attack". On being shown photographs of the four slain terrorists, Awan identified one of them as Hafeez Ahmed, son of Feroz, resident of village Dharbang, Muzaffarabad (which is in PoK).
But the lack of subsequent evidence found against the youths means the NIA’s case that JeM carried out the attacks has to be debunked, said the report. "The matrix sheet codes recovered from the site are those used by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Also, Lashkar-e-Taiba had in October 2016 owned up to the attack by announcing funeral prayers for one of the slain fidayeen at Gujranwala in Pakistan," an investigator was quoted as saying.
To their credit, the NIA admitted in January itself that the LeT was behind the Uri attack.
The families of the youths had earlier claimed that they were Class 10 students who were not yet adults. But while Awan is 20, Khursheed is 19, revealed the NIA investigation....