Uri army base attack: Two teenage 'guides' from Pak to be repatriated through Wagah Border on March 10

Devyani Sultania
Uri army base attack: Two teenage 'guides' from Pak to be repatriated through Wagah Border on March 10

Two Pakistani nationals, who are students of Class 10 and were named in a dossier by the Indian government for facilitating the "infiltration of a group of four Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) cadres who carried out the Uri army camp attack," will be repatriated to the neighbouring country on Friday, March 10, Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army, told his Pakistani counterpart on Thursday (March 9).

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After getting caught on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) two days after the attack in September last year, the two students — Faisal Husain Awan and Ahsan Khursheed — initially misled the National Investigation Agency (NIA) by saying that they had served as guides for the JeM in the Uri attack, which claimed lives of 19 soldiers. In reality, the boys had fled their village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and strayed into the Indian territory in fear of the family of the girl they had harassed.

"They ran away but accidentally crossed the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, where they were found loitering close to Uri on September 20 and picked up by locals," the official, who is investigating the attack, said. Local residents allegedly beat up the teenagers before they were handed over to the Indian Army.

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The NIA on Wednesday (March 8) told a court that it had no evidence to prosecute the students, who study at the Shaheen Model School in Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK. Awan, a resident of Potha Jandgran near PoK's Koomi Kote village, and Khursheed, who resides in Khilayana Khurd in Hattian Bala tehsil of Muzaffarabad, were handed over to the Indian Army, which will repatriate them to Pakistan through the Wagah Border on Friday.

The NIA also said that they had released the two juveniles under Section 169 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which gives the police the right to release arrested individuals owing to lack of evidence. The NIA has already asked a Jammu court to close the case against the duo who were lodged in Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu.

"They were very scared. For initial seven days in the NIA custody, the boys kept saying they were the guides who brought the Uri attackers. They told us about earlier instances when they had brought attackers. We video-recorded their statements also," the official said, adding that the students revealed their true identities a week after confessing that they had served as guides for the Uri attackers.

Awan's brother Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum told the Indian Express that the families of both the teenagers have been waiting to receive their children home. "How can I tell you what it has been like to see our mother start to weep and scream every night around 2 am or 3 am when her medication wears off. People gather around her to comfort her, but they can do nothing but cry, either," the brother said.

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