M A I N   N E W S

Two terrorists killed in Delhi
They were linked to blasts in Capital and other places
Sandeep Yadav/Ravi Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Policemen and security personnel stand guard after the encounter between the police and suspected militants in New Delhi
Policemen and security personnel stand guard after the encounter between the police and suspected militants in New Delhi on Friday. A Tribune photograph

New Delhi, September 19
Two of the suspected terrorists, who were responsible for the serial bomb blasts in the Capital last Saturday, were shot dead in an encounter in the congested Jamia Nagar area of south Delhi this afternoon.

Another suspect, who was reportedly injured, has been taken into custody and is being interrogated. However, two other accomplices of these militants managed to escape during the melee. A massive manhunt has been launched to track them.

Three policemen of the special cell of the Delhi police, including the team leader Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and head constable Balwant Singh were also injured in an hour-long encounter. Sharma later died. He had sustained three bullet injuries in his abdomen. All the three policemen were being treated at the nearby Holy Family Hospital.

The police also claimed to have seized one AK 47, .2mm two pistols and live ammunition along with a computer and some diaries from the hideout. These are being examined by experts.

The entire Jamia Nagar area was cordoned off and house-to-house searches conducted to trace the two missing suspects who were described as armed and dangerous.

The two dead terrorists were identified as Aatif, alias Bashir, and Sajid who came from the Sarai Mir area of Azamgarh district, UP. The injured suspect who is now out of danger has been identified as Saif.

Hundreds of residents from the neighbourhood came out on the streets after the gunshots were heard around 11.30 am. The police had a tough time in keeping them at a distance.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, commissioner of police YS Dadwal claimed that it all began at around 11 am when the Special Cell team arrived in the area working on specific information that five suspects were holed in the fourth floor flat, near Batla House. When the police tried to raid the place, the suspects fired from inside, taking the policemen by surprise.

“Eight rounds were fired from the terrorists while the police party had to use 22 rounds in the encounter”, told Dadwal.

Taking up positions, the policemen warned the other residents of the building to lock themselves inside and not come out till the all-clear signal was given to them. At the same time, the police asked for reinforcements, which came from local Special Cell police station in New Friends Colony.

A team of national security guard (NSG) commandos was also rushed to the spot in case of any contingency. Senior police officers also descended on the predominantly Muslim area in the heart of the city. The police commissioner said the investigation so far has revealed that Tauqeer, Mumbai techie, believed to be the mastermind of Delhi serial blasts also stayed in touch with these suspects regularly and he had apparently stayed in this fourth floor flat (L-18) during his visit to the Capital.

The investigations have also revealed that these suspects had travelled to Hyderabad earlier this month and had returned to the Capital after three days with eight other unidentified men. The police also claimed to have obtained some crucial clues about the identity of the other suspects from the footage of the CCTV cameras installed in the GK I market.

Sources claimed that the video footage clearly showed a white kurta pyjama-clad person planting a plastic bag in the area. The footage is being examined by the experts.

Meanwhile, the police continued to be on the red alert, intensifying vigil at the border check posts and the railway stations. The entire police machinery is conducting search operations at the moment. All 27 entry points to the capital have been sealed.



Terrorists could’ve been caught alive: Residents
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 19
Residents of Batla House, a predominantly Muslim colony of Jamia Nagar, were angry that the police had made no efforts to arrest the terrorists alive and alleged that they were killed in cold blood.

Agitated residents came out on the streets to express their anger and shouted slogans “Nara-e Takbeer Allahu Akbar”. They said the suspected militants were residing on the fourth floor in a building, L-18, Sailing Club Road, Batla House, in the Jamia Nagar area of South Delhi. There was no way out to escape. They could have been caught alive. The police shot them dead to give a bad name to the area.

A strong contingent of the police has been deployed in the area to prevent any problem in the communally sensitive south Delhi colony. Senior police officers later called a meeting of the elders and office-bearers of the Residents Welfare Association to ease the tension which was whipped up after the encounter.

Saba Israr, a local resident, said that a few policemen in plain clothes came to the street in the morning. They entered the building also. Later at 9.30 am, a contingent of the Special Cell sleuths of the Delhi police and National Security Guards cordoned off the area completely. Nobody was allowed to enter the area. It being the month of Ramzan, shops were closed in the morning.

He said a few minutes after gunshots were heard. The encounter continued till 11.30 am. Two bodies wrapped in bed sheets were taken by the policemen. One injured was also seen being taken by the police. Besides, one or two policemen were also seen bleeding profusely. They were admitted to hospital.

He said had the police taken local residents in confidence, the militants would have been caught alive. This is not a sensitive area. Property owners rent out their properties after police verification of the tenants.

He said area MLA Parvez Hashmi and municipal councillor Danish also visited the spot. The MLA appealed to the local residents to shut down their windows so that gunshots did not hurt them. At that time firing from both sides was being done.

The municipal councillor refused to give his statement in connection with the encounter.

Abdur Rehman Abidi, a member of Jamia Nagar Co-ordination Committee, said it was very sad if the suspects were militants. These militants could have been caught alive. This was a very congested area. The militants could not escape, he said.



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