M A I N   N E W S

2 Pak ultras nabbed after gun battle

Mysore, October 27
Two Pakistani militants were arrested here in the wee hours today after a gun-battle with Karnataka police which foiled a terror plot targetting Bangalore, the country’s IT hub, and an imposing building housing the state secretariat and legislature there.

Travelling on a two-wheeler, members of Pakistan-based Al Badr militant group Mohd Ali Hussain and Mohd Fahad, both aged 24, were intercepted by a team of state police, Karnataka DGP B.S. Sial told reporters in Bangalore.

Mr Sial said two constables and a militant were injured as the two terrorists opened fire, drawing retaliation from the police.

The central Intelligence agencies had alerted the state police about designs of a foreign-based militant group for a ‘spectacular or devastating strike’ in Bangalore with an eye on the imposing Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat and more so on ‘Vikasa Soudha’, the newly-built annexe.

Sketches of “Vikasa Soudha” and Vidhana Soudha, an AK-47 rifle, a satellite phone with numbers of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, a laptop, chemicals used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and detonators were seized from the house of the two militants in Mysore’s Vijayanagar locality, Mr Sial said.

Karachi-based Fahad, a post-graduate, was a chemical engineer trained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Hussain, a school drop-out, entered India illegally and been involved in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir before moving to Mysore about four months ago, he said.

Both had surveyed ‘Vikasa Soudha’ which has less security cover than Vidhana Soudha, and informed their ‘headquarters’ about it while awaiting logistical support for their planned action, Mr Sial said.

Mr Sial described the arrests as a ‘breakthrough’ that had averted a “major disaster or terrorist activity” and said police were looking out for possible associates of the two militants who were influenced by the ideology of Al Badar, a terrorist outfit banned by India.

The militants had also surveyed the Central Institute of Regional Languages in Mysore, a reputed institution that attracts foreign scholars and students also, he said.

Karnataka Home Minister M.P. Prakash said documents seized from the militants pointed out that their target was ‘Vidhana Soudha’ and ‘Vikasa Soudha’. The state’s Anti-Terrorist Cell has been put on high alert.

Within hours after the two arrests, the police scaled up security for Vidhana Soudha, which also houses the state legislature, pressing into service explosive detectors to screen the vehicles entering the area.

Terrorists had last year attacked the Indian Institute of Science campus, killing a former Delhi-based IIT professor after the inaugural of an international conference with many foreign delegates.

Dam security tightened

Tiruchirapalli: Authorities have tightened security around the Stanely Reservoir at Mettur in Salem district of Tamil Nadu following the arrest of two Al-Badr terror suspects in Mysore with a mission to blow up dams.

A senior police official told UNI here that armed personnel were posted at the reservoir and visitors are prohibited from entering the famous LDS Park, near the dam, as a matter of precaution.

There is already a ban on visitors entering the Stanley Reservoir for security reasons. — PTI, UNI


Shipping protocol with Pak approved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27
As a confidence-building measure ahead of the Foreign Secretary level talks, the government today decided to restore cargo shipping services with Pakistan after a gap of 35 years to substantially bolster sea trade.

The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a revised protocol between India and Pakistan, that would allow lifting of cargo between the two nations by third country vessels.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan would meet here later this month to discuss a host of issues.

“It will also permit lifting of third country cargo by India and Pakistani flag vessels from each other’s ports, which is expected to enhance tonnage under both flags and also result in competitive shipping rates”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said after the Cabinet meeting.

The shipping protocol with Pakistan, a confidence-building measure after the 1971 war, was restrictive as it barred lifting of cargo from ports of both countries destined for other contracting states by third country flag vessels.

India’s trade with Pakistan had been growing at a rapid pace as exports to Pakistan rose by 167 per cent from Rs 850 crore in 2000-01 to Rs 2,288 crore in 2004-05 and imports from Pakistan increased from Rs 292 crore to Rs 417 crore during the corresponding period.



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