Banihal: The Jammu and Kashmir police has arrested at least six people in connection with the blast which occurred in a car in Banihal area of Ramban in near Jawahar tunnel in the state last month. The police have taken a PhD student and two undergraduates along with three other men into custody. As per the J&K police, the six men were allegedly involved in the attack which was planned and executed jointly by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Jammu Inspector General of Police (IGP) M K Sinha said the three students were arrested from Shopian — Hilal Ahmed Mantoo, a PhD student at Central University in Bhatinda; Owais Amin, who was studying BBA and Umar Shafi, a BCA student. Reportedly, the three of them were radicalised by the banned Jamaat-i-Islami’s students wing Jamat-ul-Tulba.

On March 30, an explosive-laden car hit a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus which burst into flames and exploded a little later. The driver of the bus had managed to flee. There were no injuries to the CRPF personnel but there was slight damage to the rear of the bus.

Police said that Shafi, a resident of Shopian, was arrested on information that Amin provided during questioning. The other three men arrested are Aquib Shah and Shahid Wani alias Watson, both residents of Shopian, and Wasim Ahmed Dar alias from Pulwama. Sinha added that Mantoo was a close confidant of Hizbul commander Dr Saifullah who is operating in South Kashmir. Apparently, Saifullah is motivating the youth in the region to join the ranks.

According to the police, the mastermind behind the failed attack is Pakistani terrorist Munna Bihari of JeM, who is active currently in South Kashmir.