M A I N   N E W S

LeT hand in Ayodhya attack
5 terrorists held in Jammu
S.P. Sharma and Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Lucknow, July 15
In a joint operation launched by the UP and Jammu police five terrorists were arrested from the Mendhar area of Poonch district in Jammu for their involvement in the attack on the Ram Janmabhoomi Complex in Ayodhya.

The attack on the temple was planned by terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Jammu and Kashmir.

These arrests were made last night on the basis of intelligence reports. The terrorists had reportedly made calls to these persons from their mobile phone before attacking the temple.

The clues emerging from phone call record helped the intelligence agencies to identify these persons.

The police said two persons, Mohammad Naseem and Asif Iqbal, have so far been arrested and two Tata Sumo vehicles used for carrying the arm have been seized. Sources in the police added that three others had also been rounded up for questioning.

Officers of the Central intelligence agencies and the UP police have reached here to interrogate these persons.

Sources said several places in Rajouri and Poonch districts were raided as one of the suspects managed to escape.

Interrogations so far have revealed that Asif Iqbal, alias Farooq, was contacted by two terrorists of the LeT outfit, Dawood and Umar, at Sakhi Maidan, near Mendhar, where he was motivated to work for them. The terrorists paid a sum of Rs 1 lakh to Asif.

Subsequently, Asif went to Srinagar in the third week of May where he met Adnan, another militant of the LeT, at whose instance he got his Tata Sumo modified for concealing and transporting five AK rifles and ammunition to Panipat in Haryana. Thereafter, the arms and ammunition was passed on to the terrorists who attacked the temple, sources said.

It is learnt that the police has recovered a sophisticated wireless set from Asif who had passed on the message of the attack on the temple to his harbourers in Pakistan.

Sources said Naseem and Asif were also engaged in ferrying hawala money from Delhi to various places in the state where it was handed over to the terrorists.

The Central agencies had initially found no link between the terrorists who attacked the Ayodhya temple and here, but the clues provided by the mobile phone recovered at the site of the attack led them to J&K.

DGP Yashpal Singh told newspersons in Lucknow that the terrorist had moved to India in August 2004 and had been living in New Delhi. The STF in Delhi has identified two of the dead in Ayodhya as Yunus and Arshad Ali. Working closely with the J&K police and Maharashtra police the STF is soon to tie up the few remaining lose ends in the case.

The police now have authentic information about the operation being planned well in advance. The STF has identified the terrorist hideout in Delhi. According to their neighbors the men who were living as law-abiding citizens appeared to be honest and hard working men eking out a living selling vegetables and carrying out other petty businesses.

Two of the terrorist, one of whom called himself Yunus, had been living in Vasant Kunj since August 2004. They had hired a room at 95/9 Kishangarh from one Mr Ishwar Jat for Rs 850 per month. They had described themselves as merchants dealing in cloth and vegetables.

For the last one year another group, consisting of four people had rented a flat 558 Back colony in Devli village. They were paying Rs 1000 to one Ved Prakash as rent. Yunus also took this house on rent. Besides him Mohammad was also a frequent visitor.

One of the men living in the Kishaangarh house had enrolled as Mohammad at an English speaking course at a coaching institute “Munirka Indian English Centre’. He remained a student over there from 13 October 2004 to 15 January 2005.

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