May 2002 News

Masood Azhar masterminded Parliament attack

14 May 2002
The Hindustan Times

New Delhi: THE DELHI Police have charged Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Mohammed Masood Azhar with masterminding the Parliament attack on December 13. Besides Azhar, the Delhi Police's Special Cell has charge sheeted 11 people, including the five Pakistani militants gunned down during the shootout. Azhar and two other Jaish militants, Ghazi Baba and Tariq Ahmed, have been declared proclaimed offenders. This improves the chances of being able to extradite Azhar All previous charges against him had been dropped when he was released after the IC-814 hijack. The other accused, Mohammad Afzal, his cousin Shaukat Hussain Guru and Delhi University professor Syeed Abdul Rehman Geelani were produced before Special Judge S.N. Dhingra, who extended their Judicial remand till May 22 after them copies of the charge sheet. Shaukat's wife, Navjot Sandhu, has also been charge sheeted. However, as she is pregnant, she was not brought to the court. Five terrorists had stormed Parliament on December 13,2001. Nine security personnel and one civilian were killed in the attack. All five terrorists who executed the attack Mohammad, Haider, Hamza, Raja and Rana were killed in the retaliatory firing. Mohammad, the leader of the suicide squad, had also been involved in the IC-814 hijack in which he had been code named 'Burger.' The charge sheet filed by Investigating Officer ACP (Special Cell) Rajbir states: "It was a planned terrorist act to disrupt the sovereignty, unity and Integrity of India with the intention to kill the VIPs, MPs, security personnel and other government officials present in Parliament (then). The suicidal squad of terrorists equipped themselves with deadly arms and explosive materials in large quantity, and caused explosions and fired indiscriminately thereby causing loss of life and property." It was revealed that the conspiracy to blow up Parliament was hatched in Pakistan and that the attack was a combined operation of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. The prosecution has cited 185 witnesses to prove Its case against the accused. Besides the dubious distinction of being the first people to be booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in Delhi, they also face charges under Sections 121 IPC (waging war against the state), 122 IPC (collecting weapons), 120-B IPC (conspiracy), 124 IPC (use of criminal force with the intention to restrain the President/Governor, etc. from exercising lawful powers), 186 IPC (obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties), 332 IPC (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 353 IPC (assault), 302 IPC (murder) and 307 IPC (attempt to murder). The accused have also been charged with sections under the Explosives Act. The charge sheet and supporting documents, running into 465 pages, reveal that Prof. Geelani was in regular touch with the militants. Geelani told the police that Mohammad Afzal was the main coordinator of the Jaish outfit in Delhi and they all met at Shaukats house to discuss the attack. "Afzal joined militancy after completing his schooling from BaramuIIah and Joined the JKLF In 1990. He crossed over to Pakistan and under went training at an ISI-run militant camp at Muzzafarabad in PoK. Due to pressure from security forces, he came to Delhi and started staying with his cousin Shaukat. In February 2001, he was contacted by Jaish terrorist Tariq Ahmed, who motivated him to Join the outfit Tariq took Afzal to Ghazi Baba, who told him that on directions from the ISI, a Fidayeen attack needed to be carried out in Delhi.


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