Another Plot To Kill CM At Bandipore Rally Foiled
26 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Another plot to assassinate Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in a suicide attack in his rally at Bandipore today has been foiled by police with the arrest of three militants including a Pakistani national. The plot, albeit unearthed on Tuesday, was kept as a secret till the rally of Mr Azad which concluded peacefully this afternoon. A senior police officer told the Excelsior that a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant Showkat Ahmed was arrested from Srinagar two days back by police. He was subjected to questioning during which he revealed that LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen had hatched a joint conspiracy to assassinate the Chief Minister at Bandipore during his Thursday's rally. Police immediately swung into action and raided a hide-out of the militants on outskirts of Srinagar from where two associates of Showkat were also arrested. They included one Pakistani, Abu Sikander. 'While Showkat had to plant and trigger an IED blast at the rally venue, the Pakistani had to act as a fidayeen. The third militant was assigned the task of lobbying grenades at the dais from where the Chief Minister had to address the rally', official sources said. All three militants have been sent to an unidentified location for sustained questioning, they added and said more disclosures were expected from them. Some recoveries including an IED, grenades and a rifle have also been recovered at the behest of arrested militants. The Chief Minister's rally at Bandipore concluded peacefully this afternoon. Sources said Mr Azad had been briefed by top brass of police about the militants' plot to kill him before he proceeded to Bandipore to address the rally. The Chief Minister decided to go ahead with the rally and laying foundation stone for the college complex. Police had made elaborate security arrangements at the rally venue. Several plainclothesmen had also been deployed for the rally in additional to police and para-military personnel to keep a strict vigil on the rally. This was the second such plot foiled by security forces in last just 12 days. On April 14, police had arrested four persons including a couple for plotting to kill the Chief Minister. A Pakistani fidayeen, who had to execute the task, had managed to escape minutes before the arrival of Mr Azad. One of the accused was holding a fake identity card of Congress. Meanwhile, security forces shot dead a militant during an encounter in the frontier district of Kupwara today, police said. They said personnel of the Special Operation Group (SOG) of State police and 28 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) conducted a combing operation at Tandigam village in North Kashmir's Kupwara district early today. As the operation was in progress, militants fired upon the security forces. The fire was effectively retaliated and in the ensuing gunfight, a militant was killed, police added. Some arms and ammunition were also seized from the possession of the slain ultra, police said. Police arrested two Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) outfit for attempting to target convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) by planting liquid IEDs at Nowdal on April 16. Sources said that the OGWs of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit had planted the liquid IED at Nowdal on April 16 to target CRPF convoy. However, their attempt was foiled by the alert security personnel with timely detection of the explosive device, which was subsequently defused. Since then, Tral Police was tracking down the OGWs involved in planting the IED. After several days of hectic efforts, a police team from Tral Police Station under the direct supervision of Superintendent of Police (SP) Awantipora Sardar Khan came to know about the OGWs of HM working in Tral area and arrested two of them. They have been identified as Tajamul Islam, son of Mohd Shaban Mir of Gulshanpora and Bashir Ahmed Shah, son of Mohd Ramzan Shah of Batagund. During questioning, both the OGWs confessed that they had planted the IED to target CRPF convoy. They were working for Hizbul Mujahideen outfit for the past quite long-time. Tajamul Islam's father was also an active militant of HM outfit and was killed in an encounter with the security forces in 2000.