New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI): Delhi Police today claimed to have foiled a “fidayeen attack” in the national capital during Holi with the arrest of a suspected Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist in Uttar Pradesh and seizure of explosives, grenades and an AK-56 rifle from a guest house here.
Syed Liyaqat Shah, a resident of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, was apprehended from Gorakhpur two days ago, soon after he entered India through Nepal where he flown to from Karachi, S N Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), told reporters here.
“With the arrest of Shah, a fidayeen (suicide) attack in Delhi has been possibly averted,” he said, adding, he had crossed over to PoK in 1997 where he was trained and was not a surrendered militant.
This is the 18th module of Hizbul to be smashed in Delhi between 2001 and 2013 and 28 terrorists have been arrested so far. The last module was busted in 2011.
Shah’s interrogation led to a raid in a guest house in central Delhi’s Jama Masjid area where a contact was waiting for the alleged operative. Though the contact could not be arrested, police claimed they recovered an AK-56, three hand grenades, 220 gram explosives, a memory card and dry fruits.
Srivastava claimed Shah told them that the Muttahida Jihad Council held in January had decided to strike terror in Delhi and other parts of the country and observe January 26 as black day.
“(Self-styled) Senior commanders (of HM) Ghazi Nasruddin and Farooq Qureshi told Shah that he had been chosen to supervise ‘fidayeen’ (suicide attackers) recruits who would commit spectacular terror strikes in Delhi,” he claimed.
Shah was also allegedly told to return to Kashmir after the strikes and engage in “talent spotting”, the official claimed.
Shah told them that he was directed by the self-styled senior commanders to meet the person in the guest house to get further instructions, Srivastava said.
For the Delhi operations, he claimed, Shah got a Pakistani passport to reach Nepal and was directed to destroy it when he and his family entered India “to ensure that there is no evidence to link him with Pakistan”.
He took a flight from Karachi to Kathmandu and then crossed Sonauali border post. “He was also told by his handlers that the logistics for the strike have been sneaked into India by other operatives through Kashmir border and will be made available at the place of stay in Delhi arranged for him.
“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 neutralisation of the cadre were limited,” Srivastava said.
Shah had entered the world of militancy in 1993 and was wanted in a case of 2011 in Kashmir, he claimed. Asked whether the planned terror strikes were against the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, he said the Jihad Council had met in January and they were planning to conduct strikes here. When pointed out that Afzal hanging took place later, the official said the instructions were passed on later.