Kathua, Kupwara ultras plotted terror strikes

7 August 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU: Two top Hizbul Mujahideen militants arrested from Central Delhi's Daryaganj area last night had visited here only a week back before they were nabbed by Delhi Police. One of the captured ultra hailed from Loang area of Bani in Kathua district and had married in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) during training. Official sources told the Excelsior that the militants identified as Ashiq Ali Bhat son of Abdul Latief Bhat, a resident of Loang, Bani in Kathua district and Javed Ahmed Tantray son of Rashid Ahmed Tantray of Kupwara were arrested soon after they reached New Delhi from Jammu after sneaking into India through Nepal-Uttar Pradesh border. SSP Kathua Gareeb Dass said three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against Bhat-one in 2002 and two in 2003- for his involvement in two civilian killings. 'We will seek his custody after completion of investigations by Delhi Police as two FIRs have been registered against Bhat, who had joined militancy in 2002 when he was a seventh class student', the SSP Kathua said, adding that his missing report was first registered on April 6, 2002 at local police station. As Ashiq Ali Bhat fled to PoK for arms training in 2003, he was subsequently declared as an absconder. According to sources, Bhat and Tantray, who had met Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahudin few months back, camped at Rawalpindi for several days on the instructions of Hizbul Mujahideen deputy commander Khalid Saifulla before being provided with passports and visa to fly to Kathmandu in Nepal by a flight of Pakistan Airlines. The duo were received at Kathmandu by an ISI agent, whose name was not known to them. The ISI agent took them to Pokhra from where they crossed Nepal border to reach Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. On August 3, they boarded a train to Jammu from New Delhi. Sources said Bhat and Tantray met an Over Ground Worker (OGW) of Hizbul Mujahideen, Fayyaz Ahmed somewhere in Jammu (the exact location of meeting was yet to be ascertained by Delhi Police). Fayyaz was reported to have arranged a car for the militants to reach New Delhi. The militants had to get back to Shahid on telephone after reaching Delhi to take the assignment of carrying out terror strike in the Union capital and other places ahead of Independence Day. Information available with police here has revealed that Ashiq Ali got initial training in forest areas of Bani and Bhaderwah after which he killed two civilians in Bani. It was in the year 2003 that he crossed over to PoK with the help of a guide named Faisal in a group of over 20 militants from Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector. He was trained in PoK in a camp at Boi. Sources said it was in PoK that Ashiq Ali also married a girl from whom he had a son. He had promised his wife that he would return to PoK after completing his 'mission' in India. According to sources, Ashiq Ali was also in touch with his parents through telephone and his calls had been intercepted repeatedly. Possibility of telephone intercept having led to his arrest in New Delhi is not ruled out, they said. Sources said the militants had met the outfit's chief Syed Salahuddin in terrorist training camps in PoK where he asked them to carry out terror strikes in India. Both were remanded to police custody till August 17 by a court today following their arrest from central Delhi's Daryaganj at around 11 PM last night. They had met Salahuddin several times after their first introduction in 2003. '(A few months back) Salahuddin told them that they will be given some important assignment in India in near future,' sources said. On the sequence of events that led to the arrests, sources said they received an input at around 4 PM yesterday that two militants were on their way to Daryaganj from Jammu. They parked their car in Mahavir Vatika and one of them made a call to Shahid. Police caught the duo when they were about to leave from the parking area. Two AK-47 assault rifles, four magazines containing 120 rounds, cash worth Rs 24,410 and two fake identity cards were seized from their vehicle. Tantray told interrogators that he came into contact with terrorist elements in 1997 when three militants Riyaz, Tarique and Dilawar 'motivated' him into joining Hizb. 'Ahmed took training in Mansura camp and was taught to fight against the Indian Army and police,' sources said. After the arms training, he also learnt driving. Sources said the car was bearing a fake registration numbers. 'We found that the vehicle number (HR 36C 3036) was that of scooter in Haryana. We suspect that the car was stolen,' sources said.