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Piecing Together the Pulwama Plot: Pakistan Plan, 10 Months, 5 Attackers and 200kg of Explosives

Umer Farooq (L) assembling the bomb with other accused. The photo is part of the NIA chargesheet.

Umer Farooq (L) assembling the bomb with other accused. The photo is part of the NIA chargesheet.

The terror plot was put into action when Masood Azhar's nephew Ummer Farooq infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in April 2018. The procurement of explosives started in October-November.

The conspiracy to attack the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in February 2019 was hatched by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his two brothers Rauf Azghar and Maulana Mohammed Ammar, and was executed in Kashmir by his nephew Ummer Farooq, the National Investigation Agency has said in its chargesheet.

It all started when Farooq infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in April 2018, the NIA chargesheet says, suggesting that the attack conspiracy was underfoot for 10 months. A few days after Farooq, Ismail Saifullah, also infiltrated into Kashmir, the agency said.

The two accused crossed over the international border into Samba district in Jammu and were received by Ashiq Ahmed Nengroo - named in chargesheet as absconding - and Mohd Iqbal Rather.

The NIA said that the phones recovered from the accused contained videos that showed them cutting fences along the international border and crossing into India on a moonless night.

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Nengroo, who the NIA believes has escaped to Pakistan, met Farooq and Saifullah at the Bein river bridge and helped them reach the Kashmir Valley by crossing the national highway.

The procurement of the explosives began by October-November 2018. The NIA chargesheet says that accused Shakir Bashir, who was arrested on February 28, 2020, turned out to be the main help of Ummer Farooq. It was at Bashir’s house that the IED was made. He collected the explosives from other over ground workers and stocked them.

The car which the terrorists used to attack the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, killing 40 soldiers.

While the 35 kg RDX used in the IED was brought from Pakistan, other substances like gelatin sticks and ammonium nitrates were bought from local fertiliser shop. Waisul Islam, another accused in the case, allegedly ordered aluminium powder from an e-commerce site.

On the night of February 5, 2019, the IED was made by Adil Ahmed Dar, the local fidayeen who drove the bomb-laden vehicle into the CRPF bus, Sameer Dar, Ummer Farooq and Shakir Bashir. Sameer Dar was also part of the core group of attackers, said the NIA. He escaped from the encounter in which Farooq and IED expert Kamran were killed.

On the morning of February 6, a blue-colour Maruti Eeco car was parked at Shakir Bashir’s house and the explosives were fitted. Two drums of IED were made - one was of 160 kg and the other was 40 kg.

The investigation agency said that the terrorists were ready to first strike on the CRPF convoy on February 6, 2019, but snowfall had led to closure of the highway and delayed their plan.

On the fateful day of February 14, Shakir Bashir, who had a timber shop near the blast site, observed that road opening parties were being set up on highway and alerted Farooq, who swiftly got the group into action, setting in motion the attack.

It was Shakir who drove the explosive-laden vehicle till about 500 metres before the attack spot, and then handed it over to Adil Dar. The NIA said Dar observed which bus in the convoy had the maximum jawans and specifically chose that bus to ram his vehicle in to cause maximum casualties.