June 2004 News

Indian Police 'foil Bombay Raid'

29 June 2004

New Delhi: Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say they have broken up a militant cell planning a suicide attack on the Bombay stock exchange. Two militants were killed and 20 arrested during police raids in Srinagar, said state police director general, Gopal Sharma. Mr Sharma said the militants belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba group. The police raids came a day after India and Pakistan ended two days of talks focusing on their Kashmir dispute. Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir - which both nations claim - since 1989. Around 40,000 people have been killed since then. 'Gujarat link' Mr Sharma said the militants in the Srinagar cell were operating under the name of the 'Save Kashmir Movement'. 'Srinagar police have busted the entire Lashkar-e-Toiba network operating in the city for the last two years,' he said. This group was planning some high profile actions in the city of Srinagar as well as in Bombay, Pune and Delhi Gopal Sharma, state police director general Mr Sharma said members had been involved in several attacks, including the killing of a deputy inspector general of police and political party workers. He added: 'They were planning a [suicide] attack on the Bombay stock exchange besides planning to assassinate important political leaders.' The two men killed were named as Shahid Ahmed and Zahid Hafiz. Mr Sharma said they died when trying to escape police custody during an ambush by militants. Five security personnel were injured, he said. 'This group was planning some high profile actions in the city of Srinagar as well as in Bombay, Pune and Delhi,' Mr Sharma said. He said the militants were also linked to a group in the western state of Gujarat that was allegedly planning to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Police killed four people they said were members of the group on 15 June. Lashkar-e-Toiba is one of two Kashmiri militant groups India blames for attacking its parliament building in 2001 - a raid that brought India and Pakistan close to war. Relations have since thawed and a peace process begun between the nations. The latest step was a bilateral meeting of foreign secretaries in Delhi on Sunday and Monday. The meeting was described as 'positive' and the nations agreed there would be more 'sustained and serious' talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute.


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