Terror plot was to avenge Afzal's death

Mar 23, 2013, 08:49 IST | Agencies

The arrested suspect was asked by a senior commander of Hizbul Mujahideen to execute suicide attacks in the capital to avenge the hanging of Afzal Guru

Delhi police yesterday claimed to have averted a suicide terror attack in the capital with the arrest of a suspected Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist.

A local court has sent the suspected terrorist to 15 days’ police remand.

The Arsenal: Police recovered an AK-56 assault rifle, three hand grenades, two magazines, 220 grams of explosives, a Delhi map and a memory card from one of the rooms of a hotel in Jama Masjid area. File pic

Sayyed Liyaqat Shah (47), a resident of Dardpora village in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, was arrested from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur on March 20. “Shah entered Kathmandu on a fake passport provided by his Pakistan handlers. He took a flight from Karachi to Kathmandu. Thereafter, he crossed Sunauli border and reached UP’s Gorakhpur from where he was arrested,” said SN Srivastava, commissioner of police (Special Cell).

On specific intelligence received on March 19 regarding a suicide attack in Delhi, a police team was deployed at the India-Nepal border in Gorakhpur and Tanakpur in Uttarakhand.

Shah revealed that 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. Shah was told to contact a person, related to Hizbul Mujahideen cadre, in a guest house in Delhi’s Jama Masjid area where he would be provided with the arms and ammunition for carrying out the attack in Delhi.

Going by his confession, police were able to recover an AK-56 assault rifle, three hand grenades, two magazines — each carrying 30 round cartridges, 220 grams of explosives, a Delhi map and a memory card from one of the rooms of a hotel in Jama Masjid area in Delhi on the intervening night of March 21-22.

But, police could not find the person whom Shah was to meet as he had already left the hotel. “Shah’s 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 neutralisation of the cadre were limited,” said the officer.

“Shah was to go back to his village in Kupwara district after the Delhi attack where he was told to recruit new members and facilitate their cross-border travel to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK),” Srivastava said. The suicide attack was planned in a meeting, in early January 2013, of Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC).

“After the meeting, Ghazi Nasiruddin, a senior commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, and Farooq Qureshi informed Shah that he had been chosen to supervise young recruits,” said the officer.

This is the 18th module of Hizbul to be smashed in Delhi between 2001 and 2012.

“Shah was also involved in an encounter in 1994. After that he fled and became a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. 

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