Ex-Kashmiri journalist mastermind behind threats to local scribes: Police

Security agencies have found that a former Kashmiri journalist, Mukhtar Baba is the mastermind behind the recent terror threats to local journalists.

After resignations by five Kashmiri journalists over the anonymous online threats to over a dozen of them, security agencies have found that former journalist, Mukhtar Baba is the mastermind behind putting out the list of journalists accusing them of being informers for the security forces.

J&K police has lodged an FIR Aunder UAPA (Unlawful activities Prevention Act) and investigations have been launched after the emergence of the list of over a dozen Kashmiri journalists who were accused of working for the security forces/intelligence agencies.

Police sources said that intelligence assessment based on inputs from Central Intelligence Agencies suggests that Mukhtar Baba visits Pakistan frequently from Turkey and is behind propagating false narrative, grooming youngsters in the Valley for terrorism under the banner of The Resistance Front (TRF), which is an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

“Sajjad Gul, who is originally from Srinagar, is one of the main operatives of the TRF and is also involved in issuing threats. The agency has identified six persons who are in touch with Baba and are providing information to him.

“The agencies have identified more than six persons including four journalists and two government employees on the basis of objective evidence. They have recommended a mission based approach to identify these elements, collect evidence by way of mapping their properties, their telecommunication usage and their travel within the country and abroad to provide an effective response to the challenge,” sources said.

Mukhtar Baba, originally a resident of downtown Srinagar, shifted to Nowgam outskirts of Srinagar before escaping to Turkey. He has built a network of informers from within journalists on the basis of whose inputs he has prepared the current threat list.

“He remained affiliated with terror outfit Hizbullah in the 1990s and was shunted out from the outfit after he was found involved in selling AK-47 rifles belonging to Hizbullah to another terrorist organisation.

“Thereafter, he remained associated with Masrat Alam led Muslim League and is notorious for his coercive means to compel journalists and media outlets in the Valley to toe Pakistani and terrorist line in reporting and opinions,” says Mukhtar Baba’s dossier prepared by the intelligence agencies.

Sources stated that he has always been close to Pakistani agencies while being active in Srinagar with several secessionist outfits. Baba has also been active on social media making all out efforts to push the narrative at the behest of hostile foreign agencies.

Mukhtar Baba, 55, had worked as a journalist with four Valley based media organisations earlier and is very familiar with the media environment in Kashmir. He was lodged in Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal Jail for quite some time in 1990.

Sources said that Mukhtar Baba was placed in Turkey sometime in 2018 by Jodha Carin Fischer, an American national of German origin who operated in Jammu and Kashmir as a deep penetration ISI agent for almost eight years before her cover was blown and she was forcibly deported out.

Srinagar Police on November 12 said that a case has been registered against handlers, active terrorists and over ground workers (OGWs) of terror outfit LeT and its offshoot TRF for online publication and dissemination of a direct threat letter to journalists and reporters based in Kashmir. The FIR was filed under sections 13 of the UAPA, and sections 505, 153B, 124A and 506 of the IPC in Shergari Police Station.

20221118-070401

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