It was the first time that Indian security forces captured a Pakistani terrorist — after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Police officials said he was linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group, which also carried out the deadly Mumbai attack that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead.
According to informed sources, the Pakistani terrorist confessed that their ultimate mission was to target the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. He added that 16 Pakistani terrorist modules were active in Jammu and Kashmir.
In New Delhi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident. Amid indications that the Pakistani might be flown to New Delhi on Thursday, the home ministry said the ambush and capture would be probed by the National Investigation Agency.
It all began when two militants ambushed a BSF vehicle on its way to the Kashmir Valley, killing two troopers and injuring 11, at Narsu Nallah, 65 km from Jammu.
The BSF vehicle was peppered with bullets but the troopers fought back, one officer said.
After one of the attackers got killed, Usman ran all the way to Chirdi village in the hills and took three simple villagers hostage — a decision that was to seal his fate.
Officials initially gave no credit to the villagers who caught the terrorists. But the villagers gave their version of the story to reporters who thronged the village.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the credit for catching the Pakistani should go to Chirdi villagers.
“Very brave of the unarmed civilians to wrestle and disarm an armed terrorist. They should be suitably rewarded for this bravery,” Omar said.
“Very unfortunate that the credit is not going where it is due.”
Some Indian experts felt that Wednesday’s attack was aimed at spiking the proposed talks between the National Security Advisers of Pakistan and India.
Wednesday’s attack took place on the 300-km Jammu-Srinagar highway that links Jammu region with the Kashmir Valley and is a lifeline for Srinagar.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the attack was “extremely worrying” because it followed the July 27 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur district in Punjab that left seven people dead.
Gurdaspur borders Pakistan, and those attackers too were believed to be Pakistanis.