Jammu and Kashmir police said on Sunday that it has busted a white-collar militant syndicate that would threaten political leaders, government officials, social activists, and journalists thereby identifying targets for various terrorist groups.
Five persons, including Mohammad Akbar Sofi, secretary Srinagar municipal corporation (SMC), his daughter advocate Nazish Yasrab Rehman, his son Tabish Akbar Rehman, APeerzada Rafiq Makhdoomi and Javed Khalid have been arrested for running the syndicate.
Vijay Kumar, IGP (Kashmir) said, “Kashmir fight.wordpress.com was being run by a white-collar militant syndicate whose task was to prepare a strategic hit list of government servants, journalists, social activists, lawyers and political functionaries who were assessed by the syndicate to be responsible for harming the objective of sustaining Pakistan supported militant programme.
“With the arrest of the group and discovery of a huge number of digital devices and the analysis of the data, it is expected that the ultimate plans behind the murder of journalist, Shujat Bukhari, advocate, Babar Qadri, and businessman, Satpal Nischal would be revealed.
“Kashmirfight.wordpress.com had designed a modus operandi wherein the name of the victim was first published, he was profiled giving detailed justification as to how and why he is a legitimate target for the militants and subsequently his actual execution by the militants."
The IGP said during a wide-ranging operation houses and properties at multiple locations including Sanat Nagar and Raj Bagh in Srinagar, Batpura in Hazratbal, Poonch, Jammu and Hawal in Pulwama belonging to these five persons were searched.
“During searches of the suspect premises, large numbers of cell phones, digital storage devices and computing platforms were recovered. In one house alone, 32 mobile phones, one tablet, two laptops, four hard disk storage devices, seven memory cards and one dongle were seized," the IGP said.
Police said Javed Khalid from Poonch district of Jammu division is the fiance of Sofi’s daughter and Makhdoomi, who is close to Sofi, had unsuccessfully contested SMC elections.
“Sofi is a former militant who managed to get a job in the SMC and rose to become the corporation’s secretary despite allegations of corruption and accumulation of huge wealth beyond his known sources of income", police said.
Ironically, because of his high-profile contacts, Sofi recently received Real Hero Award 2021 that was presented by Parliament members headed by NDA’s Chirag Paswan.
In October 2020, a case was registered by police for threatening 27 journalists and 12 political activists whose names were published in Kashmirfight blog.
In May this year, another case was registered against the same blog for threatening dozens of persons including journalists and political activists whose names were published in Kashmirfight blog.