4 more top militants captured by City police
9 August 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: In ongoing offensive against the militants, City police have arrested four more ultras of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit including a Pakistani taking the total number of arrests made during last one week to seven. With the arrests, the militants’ plan to trigger serial blasts in the temple City has been foiled, official sources told the Excelsior today. This is for the first time during one and a half decades of militancy that seven militants including two Pakistanis have been captured alive by the City police in a single operation. This is also for the first time that the militants, plotting terror attacks in the City, had originated from Mahore tehsil in Udhampur district. All such attacks so far had their origin in Kashmir, Doda and Surankote. Sources said during sustained interrogation of three militants including a Pakistani Abu Saaf alias Gulzar of Gujranwala, Pakistan, who were arrested by the police from Iqbal Chowk in Gujjar Nagar on August 1, involvement of four more militants, who were part of the proposed terror strikes in the City, surfaced. A special police party was deputed to Mahore and Gool, where the militants were hiding. Sources said all four militants including one Pakistani and three locals of Mahore and Gool were arrested by a City police party, which had gathered specific information of the militant hideout during interrogation of their three associates. Police party recovered four powerful Chinese grenades and a large quantity of other explosive material and ammunition from the hideout. However, two AK rifles, eight magazines and half a dozen grenades, which the militants had dumped in another hideout, were seized by a police party of Operations Group of Gool, which had also managed to get an information of their hideout from an intelligence agency. The Operations Group, Gool is yet to handover consignment of the weapons to the City police, the sources said. With these arrests, a total of seven militants have been arrested by the police. Two of them are Pakistanis while five others are locals of Mahore and Gool. They all belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit. All of them have been brought here and lodged in a high security police station in the City. Additional enforcement of para-military has been deployed at the police station, where they have been lodged. According to sources, one of the militant Mushtaq Ahmed, who was arrested from Gool along with three others, has turned out to be a prize catch. He was an ‘operational commander’ of LeT for Mahore and Gool and was operating in the two hilly belts for last more than three years. He was instrumental in a series of attacks against security forces and civilians besides recruitment of a number of local youths as militants. Two Pakistanis Abu Saaf of Gujranwala and Abu Jihad of Narowal had been asked by their bosses to act as fidayeens. Two other arrested militants Qayoom and Abdul Rehman have also turned out to be the most wanted militants in Mahore. Arrested militants have disclosed during their questioning that they had received a direction from LeT ‘divisional commander’ Abu Nadeem (could be a code name) in June this year to carry out serial blasts and fidayeen strikes simultaneously in the City in the month of August. As a part of the direction, three militants including Abu Saaf, a Pakistani, had set out on the mission. They reached here on July 30 and stayed in a forest area of Bahu Fort before reaching Gujjar Nagar. However, the sources of City police joined by the Counter Intelligence (CI) sleuths, who were keeping a strict surveillance on the anti-national elements in the localities where they could get shelter, followed them and finally over-powered them at Iqbal Chowk on August 1. They were subjected to sustained interrogation during which they broke and disclosed identity of their associates and hideouts where they had dumped arms and explosives. They also disclosed that the weapons and the explosive devices had to be brought here by four other militants after they managed a safe hideout here. The militants said they were told by the Lashkar ‘commander’ that the outfit had settled a number of their over-ground workers of Mahore in the localities like Bahu Fort, Circular Road and Bhatindi, where they would get shelter. After the disclosure, police have also carried out raids in the houses of all people of Mahore, settled in the three localities and some other areas. A number of suspects have been detained for questioning. Sources, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of some of the suspects having managed to slip from their houses after arrest of the militants. 'More disturbing is the disclosure for us that the militants had paid their over-ground workers and settled them in peripheries of the City', the sources said. Also significant is the fact that this was for the first time that the terror attacks in the City were planned from Mahore with the help of local militants. In initial phase of militancy, the attacks in the City were executed by the militants of the Kashmir valley. Later, the task was performed by the militants of Doda while in some of the attacks in last few years, the attackers had originated from Surankote. The militants disclosed that they hadn’t been given any specific date or target by the militants like August 15 or Amarnath yatra. They had been told to carefully carry out recee of the City and carry out serial blasts in crowded areas and the places of public importance on any day. As earlier reported, police had recovered one identity card of Executive Magistrate, Ist Class Mahore from the Pakistani arrested earlier.