Mavia’s Cell exposes LeT, HMPPR sleeper cells
24 February 2007
The Daily Excelsior
By Sanjeev Pargal
Jammu: In a major success, Rajouri police today managed to extract details on a large scale about sleeper cells of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen Pir Panjal Regiment operating in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch besides network of the two outfits spread across Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Kashmir Valley from huge data retrieved from two mobile telephones recovered from the possession of two militants commanders, who were gunned down by Army and police at Hasblot and Raina Mohalla in Thanna Mandi area of Rajouri district. Two mobile telephones—94196-87884 and 94199-72186 (Nokia 6600 and 3100) were recovered from the possession of Shahid Rasool alias Abu Mavia of Faisalabad and Khalid alias Abu Umar, both Pakistanis and commanders of HMPPR. Mavia was operating in different areas of the State for last five years and had recently been designated as ‘co-ordinator’ for LeT and HMPPR outfits, a high ranking post given only to 'experienced commanders'. Official sources said after Abu Mavia was killed yesterday afternoon, police received a call on his Cellphone from Muzaffarabad, capital city of PoK at 2.20 pm from number 058-66063266. Initially, a police officer spoke to the caller posing as Mavia but few minutes later the caller, who appeared to be a top Muzaffarabad based Lashkar commander, disconnected the phone realising that the phone had landed in the hands of police officers. Sources said the caller was asking Mavia to wait for some more days to receive consignment of arms and hawala money as the outfit was searching different channels to provide them with weaponry and currency. After PoK’s call, Mavia’s mobile phone again rang up at about 2.40 pm. This time, there was a call on his phone from a Srinagar’s landline number (0194) 2455046. As police officers again wanted to speak, the militant uttered few words before disconnecting the phone as he too had realised that it was not his colleague Mavia on the other end. Sources said Srinagar’s phone number was traced as a Public Call Office (PCO). By the time, Rajouri police sounded their counterparts in Srinagar and a police team rushed to the PCO, the militant had escaped. Nevertheless, police managed to make a sketch of the militant from the description available with the help of eye- witnesses. According to sources, a number of telephone numbers of militants’ contacts, who were operating as sleeper cells, have been obtained from data retrieved through two mobile telephone numbers of the militant commanders. The persons, on whose names the two mobile phones had been issued, have also been identified. One of them on whose name the mobile number 94196-87884 had been issued, hailed from Rajouri and has been taken into custody. Another person, on whose name the Cell No. 94199-72186 had been issued, belonged to Srinagar. For his arrest, Srinagar police has been alerted, sources said. They added that busting of sleeper cells of LeT and HMPPR would go a long way in curbing militancy in border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Other support structure of the militants will also be destroyed from the information obtained from phone numbers, sources said. According to them, a number of calls received from PoK on the two telephones were also a pointer that militants’ vast network still existed in Muzaffarabad and other parts of PoK despite claims to the contrary being made by Pakistan Government. 'The fact that a LeT commander was assuring Mavia of arms and hawala money was another evidence of Pakistan’s unabated support to militancy', they said. 'LeT’s PoK based commander’s message to Mavia to wait for few more days for consignment of arms and hawala money has strengthened our belief that militants were running short of cash and weapons', sources said, adding 'this was also evident from the fact that both top commanders were having only five AK magazines and two grenades with them'. Normally, the militant commanders would have four magazines and five grenades each with them while shifting from one place to another, they pointed out. Sources said the militants in Rajouri had been running short of cash and arms since their major network led by Khalid of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) was busted by Rajouri police under the supervision of SSP Farooq Khan last year. Both Mavia and Khalid were ‘A’ category militants and carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh each on their head. It may be recalled that both were trapped yesterday by Army and police at Hasblot. The militants moved from one house to another in Hasblot and Raina Mohalla. Army and police had to act cautiously to avert civilian casualties and, at the same time, kill both the militants. The task was executed successfully, sources said. They pointed out that militants were trapped due to a new strategy used by Army and police yesterday. The security personnel travelled in a civil vehicle, a TATA Sumo, and the militants were unable to spot them. Initial operation was carried out by three jawans each from Army and police while additional re-enforcement joined later.