The Pak Connection

Encounter minus mark kills Pak duo

Noida sleeps through hour-long fight, cops claim militant sneak-in bid foile

 

By  TAPAS CHAKRABORTY AND NISHIT DHOLABHAI

Lucknow/Noida, Jan. 25: Two suspected Pakistani terrorists trying to slip into Delhi were shot dead in an early-morning gun battle, Uttar Pradesh police said today after foiling the alleged sneak-in bid barely 24 hours before Republic Day.

The hour-long “encounter”, which involved a car chase but left no tyre marks and woke up none in the Noida neighbourhood, came two months after the Mumbai attacks amid fears that a replay of 26/11 could snap India’s fragile peace with Pakistan.

“We didn’t hear anything, we only saw the TV vans early this morning,” said Gulshan, who lives in a 3ft-high hut just 100 metres from the shootout site.

Uttar Pradesh additional police chief Brij Lal said two Pakistani passports had been found on the slain militants but they could be fake.

He said one of the militants, who was still alive when members of the state anti-terror squad (ATS) surrounded them, had identified himself as Farooq, from Pakistan’s Okara, the home district of captured Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

The other man, Farooq said, was Abu Ismail from Rawalakot in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Lal told reporters. “We suspect they were trying to enter Delhi to carry out some subversive plot during the Republic Day parade,” the officer added.

A senior officer said four persons had been “picked up” for questioning from in and around Noida following the encounter, hardly the first plot-busting action police have claimed on a Republic Day-eve.

Lal claimed it was the sole achievement of Uttar Pradesh police with no help from central agencies, though the focus has been on “co-ordination” since the November attacks when the home ministry came under fire for delay in sending commandos to Mumbai.

Uttar Pradesh ATS sources, however, said they had been tipped off by central agencies that some militants might try to enter Delhi today from neighbouring Ghaziabad through Noida by car.

State police officers failed to explain why they didn’t co-ordinate better with central forces or paramilitary personnel, though Lal claimed they had “indeed informed Delhi police”, since the “primary goal was to arrest the suspects”.

“But they (the militants) began to fire, prompting us to retaliate…. We would have co-ordinated with the Centre and taken the help of RAF or the NSG but the situation did not warrant that,” Lal said.

Police sources said the ATS team gave chase after the white Maruti 800 ignored warnings to stop and drove past a Noida outpost around 2.15.

Anil Samania, an inspector with Noida police who joined the gun battle, said the police retaliated after a burst of AK-47 gunfire from the Maruti.“One round of AK-47 bullets was returned with five rounds from police vans,” he said.

The police went on firing till there was no response from the alleged militants. It was 3.20, and the police had fired at least 40 rounds, the inspector said.

Additional police chief Lal said the suspects, both in their early twenties, were rushed to hospital where doctors declared them dead soon after.One policeman was injured in the shootout.

Lal said the police seized five hand grenades and 1kg of RDX from the car, which had few signs of being caught in a crossfire. “The number (UP14E 9531) was found to be that of a scooter owned by a Ghaziabad resident,” said a Noida police officer.

An ATS officer said an identity card of an Indian government employee had been found on the suspects but the name, Sameer Chaudhry, could be fictitious.In Noida, resident Gulshan said she slept undisturbed through the 45-minute encounter, as did her neighbour Kallu.

State police sources later confirmed their guns were not fitted with silencers. There are no silencers for AK-47s

Courtsey: The Telegraph….. The 26th January,2009.

 

Pak takes control of Dawa hub

Islamabad, Jan. 25 (PTI): The Pakistan government took control of the sprawling headquarters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa today in a crackdown on the front outfit of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the militant group blamed for the November attacks in Mumbai.

Khakan Babar, recently appointed chief administrator by the government of Punjab province, took over the Dawa’s Markaz-e-Taiba headquarters in Muridke, about 30km from Lahore. A spokesman for the Markaz-e-Taiba described appointment of the administrator as a “takeover” under international pressure.

The Dawa was outlawed shortly after the UN Security Council declared it a Lashkar front in December last year, interior ministry chief Rehman Malik had said earlier, though diplomatic sources said the Pakistan government had not yet formally notified the ban.

The takeover was completed in the presence of Lahore’s commissioner, the district police chief, an official of the Auqaf, or religious affairs department, and a police contingent. Babar will supervise and monitor all activities at the Dawa’s headquarters, the Dawn News channel reported.

Babar, his eight-member staff and about a dozen policemen will be stationed at the Markaz-e-Taiba complex that includes a school, a college and a hospital.

Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and several other top leaders of the group are currently under house arrest. Their detention was recently extended by two months, though there have been reports that Saeed and the other leaders were allowed to move out of their homes on several occasions.

The Pakistan government claims that 124 members of the Dawa and other banned groups have been detained while dozens of Dawa offices have been sealed across the country.

The government, however, says it can take legal action against the Dawa leaders only if India provides proof of their involvement in the Mumbai attacks that claimed nearly 180 lives as 10 terrorists went on a killing spree.

Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the carnage, has revealed during interrogation that he and the nine slain attackers had received training at Lashkar camps in Pakistan.

 

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