India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday said it had released two teenagers from Azad Jammu and Kashmir arrested last year in connection to the attack on a military installation in Uri, Occupied Kashmir.
According to IANS, the agency said it had handed over Faisal Hussain Awan and his friend Ahsan Khursheed to Indian military authorities so that they could be sent back to their homes. In a report last month, NIA investigators admitted they could find no evidence to link the two youths to the September 18, 2016 attack, which left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
“Hussain and Khursheed have been released and handed over to the Army’s 16 Corps headquarters today (Wednesday) for sending them back to Pakistani authorities,” IANS quoted an NIA official as saying.
The NIA investigation has so far revealed that the two teenagers crossed the Line of Control following an argument with their parents due to pressure over studies. The agency said that the evidence collected in the form of statements, technical analysis of their mobile phones, seized GPS devices and other circumstantial evidence did not reveal any linkage of the suspects with the Uri attackers.
Indian authorities arrested the two youths on September 21 last year and accused them guiding the Uri attackers. Delhi had also accused Islamabad of being involved in the attack – a charge seemingly refuted by the NIA report.