Srinagar: Initial investigations into the terror attack on a highly-guarded army camp in Kashmir in Uri have pointed towards several procedural lapses including lack of coordination between two guard posts.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), meanwhile, was finishing documentation work in the case besides effecting seizures of material evidence from the scene of attack The investigators probing the deadly attack in which 18 soldiers were killed have also found that the perimeter of the highly sensitive Brigade Headquarter of the Army was not properly fenced at several places, official sources said today.
The probe also pointed towards the possibility of the four terrorists involved in the attack having sneaked in from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) through Haji Peer Pass on the intervening night of September 16/17 and stayed put at village Sukhdar, overlooking the Brigade headquarter, they said. Sukhdar village is located at a vantage point allowing an unhindered view of the layout of the army base and movement of personnel inside it.
The growth of wild grass and bushes around the perimeter of the brigade is seen as one of the factors that could have facilitated undetected movement of the terrorists close to the fencing, which was cut by the ultras to sneak inside the base, the sources said.
Standard security procedures provide for mowing any tall grass and cutting of bushes around vital security installations but it was not done around the target site.
The initial probe has also pointed towards the failure of two manned guard posts, located barely 150 feet from each other, to detect the intrusion inside the base by the terrorists, they said, adding it could have been due to lack of coordination between the two guard posts.
Jammu and Kashmir Police has collected call details and internet data usage of all active cellphones and broadband connections in Uri town for the period of 24 hours prior to daring attack on the army base, the sources said.
The sources said the data along with the partial analysis carried out by state police has been handed over to the NIA for further investigation. The state police has also handed over the DNA samples of the slain militants to the NIA.
The authorities have buried the slain militants in a village graveyard close to the Brigade headquarter. The last rites of the deceased were performed by the local Imam and some residents, the sources said.
The NIA team, which arrived here on Tuesday, is in the process of completing the case documentation and collecting the material evidence from the site which would form part of seizure memo, the sources said.
They said the arms, ammunition and other seized articles have been packed in wooden boxes for transportation to Delhi as these would be part of case property. The NIA team is also trying to retrieve data from the Global Positioning System (GPS) sets recovered from the slain militants. The NIA on Tuesday registered a case to probe the terror attack at the Army installation in Uri.
It took over the investigation from the state Police, which had registered a case on Sunday, and began probe by collecting evidence available with the Army formation at Uri.
The NIA team led by Inspector General G P Singh has been camping in Uri since its arrival here yesterday. Some members of the team will return to Delhi tomorrow while others will stay back at Uri to carry out further investigation including questioning of people who might be familiar with the movement of the militants prior to the attack.
The team would prepare a dossier and may make a formal request to Pakistan once the identity of the four was ascertained.
Army has also instituted an inquiry into the attack with preliminary probe suggesting that the terrorists had entered the area at least a day before mounting the brazen assault.
The inquiry besides ascertaining lapses, if any, would also suggest measures to prevent such attacks in the future as Pakistani-based groups were indulging more in “shallow infiltration”, which means that terrorists strike the first available installation after crossing the Line of Control.
Meanwhile, the road passing through the Brigade headquarter–which connects Uri town to 12 villages close to the Line of Control– was today thrown open for civilian traffic after remaining off limits for the past four days.
Civilian vehicles were allowed to pass through after thorough checking but the brigade premises were kept out of bounds for media personnel.