August 2000 News

Lashkar Hand In Srinagar Blast Confirmed, Six Held

23 August 2000
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: With the arrest of six persons, the Kashmir Police today claimed to have achieved a breakthrough in the August 10 Srinagar blast that left 15 persons dead, including HT photographer Pradeep Bhatia. The police are now on the lookout for a girl student, who was also a part of the militants'' ''plan'' to do something big as a run-up to the Independence Day. With the arrest of all the ''major players'' involved in the blast, it has now been established that the Lashkar-e-Toiba masterminded the blast. The Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Mr Ashok Bhan, told The Hindustan Times that the arrested included those who brought the car to the Residency Road also one who executed the explosion through the remote control device. The police now suspect that the ''hijacking'' of the car was done in connivance with the car''s driver. The car was carrying a RDX filled gas cylinder, which caused the powerful explosion. According to the police, the key players met at Hyderpora residence of Haji Ali Mohammad Bhat on July 31 and decided to carry out the explosion ahead of Independence Day, before the security was stepped up. The venue was chosen with careful planning, where the blast would inflict maximum damage and fetch publicity. Mir Hussain Chichi, a Lashkar militant, along with his accomplice Abu Harara, a Pakistani national, and a young girl (yet to be arrested) took the car to the venue after loading it with the RDX cylinder. Abu Harara then went towards river Jhelum and took up a position which provided him clear view of the car and allowed him direct sensor contact to execute the blast. He was joined by Shafat Rishi, another Pakistani. Iqbal Khan alias Manzoor, threw a grenade near the spot at 12.15 p.m. and police and media reaction was on the anticipated lines. The police immediately gathered at the spot and so did the mediapersons. Fifteen minutes later, Abu Harara and Shafat Rishi decided to blow up the car, leaving a trail of death and destruction. The IGP said that police have arrested all the six.


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