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NIA to hand over photos of Pathankot attackers to Pakistan

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency has decided to preserve the bodies of the four terrorists killed in an encounter at the Pathankot airbase for an “indefinite period” as it makes preparations to hand over their photographs to Pakistan.

Security forces stand guard outside the Pathankot airbase. File photo

The bodies have been kept in deep freezers under “police protection.” They would be preserved till their identities are established, a senior government official said.

Before it decided to send the photographs, the NIA rummaged through the database of all missing persons in India aged 18-35 to establish whether they were Indians or not.

“We went through the records and made enquiries to see whether these terrorists were Indians or not. We found nothing to that effect and now plan to hand them over to Pakistan to seek their help in identifying the four men,” the official said.

He said Pakistan was bound to cooperate with India under the U.N. Security Council resolution 1373 on counter-terrorism. “We will send the photographs to Pakistan and expect action now. Who are these men and where they hail from? We suspect there could be attempts to disfigure the bodies and that is why we have kept them under police protection,” the official said.

‘Terrorists dialled six numbers in Pakistan’

The terrorists who entered the Pathankot airbase dialled six numbers in Pakistan, the National Investigation Agency has found. The numbers, including that of the mother of one of the terrorists killed, were dialled from the snatched phones of taxi driver Ikagar Singh and jeweller Rajesh Verma.

While Singh was killed, the terrorists had slit the throat of Verma before throwing him out of the vehicle of the former Gurdaspur SP, Salwinder Singh, which they snatched on the intervening night of December 31-January 1.

The numbers stand in the names of Jaish-e-Islam, Saad, Molana, Mullah Dadullah, Khayam Baber (the terrorist’s mother) and Kashif Jaan. The numbers are registered with Mobilink, Warid and Telenor, the service-providers in Pakistan.

Kashif Jaan, one of the key handlers of the attackers who exchanged a number of calls with them, had been under the scanner of intelligence agencies for long.

Officials said they had analysed his Facebook profile and found that of the 1,200 people on his Friends list, at least 130 belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, which India says had orchestrated the attack.

According to investigators, Kashif Jaan was also friends with a few Kashmir-based groups on Facebook. The Hindu could not independently verify and access this page.