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Delhi Police avert terror attack in capital with arrest of HuM militant
New Delhi, March 22, 2013
The Delhi Police today said it had possibly averted a terrorist attack in Delhi when its Special Cell, in a trans-border operation, arrested a hardcore militant of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and, at his instance, discovered an AK-56 rifle, some hand grenades and two magazines from a room in a hotel in the Jama Masjid area of the capital yesterday.
The arrested man was identified as Liyaqat Bukhari of Dardpora Lolab village in Kupwara tehsil of Jammu & Kashmir and he was nabbed while crossing into India from Nepal near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, Delhi Special Police Commissioner S N Srivastava told a press conference here.
He said police had earlier received an intelligence tip-off about the possibility of terror strikes in the capital to avenge the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and that militants might sneak into the country from across the border in Nepal.
Liyaqat was remanded in police custody and, during interrogation, disclosed to the police that he was supposed to meet a person in the room of a hotel in Delhi for further instructions, Mr Srivastava said.
Police waited all day yesterday for the occupant of the room, who had gone out, to return, but when he did not, they entered the room with the help of the hotel management and found the cache of arms and ammunition. They also recovered a computer memory card, a map and dry fruits from the room.
The occupant of the room had checked in at the hotel the previous day and left soon after, leaving his luggage there, and did not return.
Mr Srivastava said that, during interrogation, Liyaqat had said that, in early January this year, a meeting of the Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC) had been held, at which the participants decided to observe January 26, Republic Day, as a Black Day and to rededicate themselves to the cause of integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan.
Later, a person called Ghazi Nasiruddin, said to be a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, and Farooq Qureshi informed Liyaqat that he had been chosen to supervise young "fidayeen" recruits who would commit spectacular terrorist strikes in Delhi. He was told that after the strikes were execued, he should return to the Kashmir valley to settle down and to engage himself in "talent spotting", that is finding new recruits and facilitating their cross-border travel into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he said.
According to Mr Srivastava, Liyaqat told the police that, for the Delhi operation, fake Pakistani passports were arranged by his handlers and he was instructed to destroy all the passports upon arrival in Kathmandu so that when he and his family entered India, there would be no evidence of any Pakistani connection.
He was also told that all logistical requirements for carrying out the "fidayeen" (suicide) attacks, such as arms and ammunition, had already been taken into India by other young fidayeen cadres of the organizations through the Jammu and Kashmir border and would be made available at the place of stay arranged for him in Delhi.
He said his task was to draw up a workable plan by selecting the best possible target where maximum casualties could be inflicted and the chances of early neutralization of the cadre were limited.
According to the police, Liyaqat took a flight from Karachi and reached Kathmandu. Thereafter, he crossed Sonauali border post and reached Gorakhpur, where Liyaqat was apprehended by the Special Cell.
A first information report (FIR) under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act had been registered in the Special Cell and the case is under investigation, the police said.
This is the 18th module of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen busted in Delhi, the last being in January, 2011 in which four members of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were arrested, police said.
"With the arrest of Liyaqat, a fidayeen attack in Delhi has been possibly averted," the police added.
However, soon after the Delhi Police made the announcement of the arrest, media reports emerged quoting sources as saying that Liyaqat, who had crossed over to PoK in 1997, was returning to India via Nepal to avail of the Jammu and Kashmir government's surrender and rehabilitation policy when he was arrested.
The reports said he was travelling with his family and had reached the India-Nepal border post on Wednesday. He had informed the border post about this, they said.