Rajouri ultras held in Delhi make important disclosures
8 December 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Two Pakistan militants, who were gunned down by the Delhi Police near Lotus temple in New Delhi yesterday, were planning to flee to Dubai on the fake passports of two Rajouri based local militants. All four militants, two of whom were killed and two others arrested, were involved in a series of militant activities in the border district of Rajouri. A team of the Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) reached Rajouri late this afternoon from New Delhi and shared information with the local police, which they had gathered from the two arrested militants. Both the arrested militants have reportedly made very sensational disclosures about themselves and their slain associates during their questioning by the Delhi Police overnight, senior police officers, who were in constant touch with their Delhi Police counterparts, told Excelsior tonight. All four militants were part of Hizb-e-Islami outfit and not Hizbul Mujahideen Pir Panjal Range (HMPPR) as claimed by the Delhi Police, the sources said. On the basis of the information, Rajouri police tonight launched search operations at Kot Behrot, Rajdhani, Bawli, Nerojal and Hasiot in Thanna Mandi where the slain foreign mercenaries had set up their bases. Late night reports said the joint team of Delhi Police, IB and Rajouri police managed to arrest three 'close associates' of the militants and recovered a huge quantity of arms and explosives from the hideouts. More recoveries and arrests were in the offing. Arrests persons have been identified as Abdullah Lambardar and Qayoom, both brothers and Rashid, all residents of Rajdhani. Recoveries made from the hideouts included two AK rifles, one sniper rifle, one Pika gun and five kg RDX. Recoveries were made from Potha in Rajdhani and Kot Behrot. As reported today, Hafiz Rashid and Billal Ahmed, both Pakistanis were gunned down by the Delhi Police near Lotus temple last evening while two others including Tarif Shah and Tajim Mohd, both residents of Rajdhani, Thanna Mandi were arrested. It was on the basis of a 'specific information' given by a senior officer of Rajouri police zone to their Delhi counterparts that the two militants were arrested, who, in turn, disclosed whereabouts of two foreign mercenaries, leading to their elimination. Delhi Police was reported to have monitored a mobile telephone of the militants to identify their exact location. One of the important disclosure, made by the arrested militants, is that the slain Pakistan militant, Billal Ahmed had obtained a TATA Sumo permit as well as a driving license and operated the vehicle on Rajouri-Jammu route for more than six months, the sources said. 'It can be very well presumed that in addition to the passengers, Billal would have transported the militants and their sympathisers in the TATA Sumo from Rajouri to other areas and vice versa', the sources said, adding 'it has now come to the notice of the police that the TATA Sumo vehicle, which was in possession of Billal Ahmed, was a stolen one. The Sumo permit as well as the driving license could be fake but their was no confirmation since 'we have not examined the two documents', they asserted. Sources said the police, during the searches being carried out in Thanna Mandi on the disclosures of two arrested militants, was trying to get the documents and seize stolen TATA Sumo. The arrested militants have also revealed that the foreign mercenaries were planning to fly to Dubai after securing passports on the names of Tarif Shah and Tajim Mohd. Some local contacts of the militants were supposed to assist them in securing the passports. Sources said the Delhi Police was trying to ascertain identity of the local contacts of the militants to arrest them. Reports were that the contacts had gone underground after the arrest of two militants. However, the reasons behind the Pakistan militants trying to fly to Dubai, were not known to the local militants, the sources said. According to the figures available with Rajouri police and Army authorities, Hafiz Rashid and Billal Ahmed were involved in a number of militant activities in Thanna Mandi and other areas of Rajouri district. Hafiz Rashid was operating in Thanna Mandi for last four to six years while Billal had joined him about one year later. Both had been on the hit list of the security personnel but due to their long presence in the area, they had managed to erect safe hideouts for them. It was after the killing of Zafar Iqbal, a civilian at Dhanni Dhar, by the duo that the local people had revolted against them and started giving information to the security personnel about their movement. Following dwindling support, the militants were forced to desert Thanna Mandi, the sources said.