Indian intelligence agencies say that they are carrying out a joint operation to nab hardcore Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who are planning to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gatherings and/or assassinate other high-profile politicians in Delhi.
Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Delhi Police’s special cell sleuths claim that at least four terrorists had infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir last month and were in contact with Lashkar commander Abu Dujana for logistics and ground support, Times of India reported Sunday quoting highly placed sources.
J&K police has also been roped in for the counter-terror operation and at least two of the militants have been reportedly arrested in J&K, the sources said.
The newspaper quoting the sources said the militants had two plans. One was to carry out a mass shooting in a Paris-like attack at a gathering attended by Modi. And the other revolved around a militant, who was supposed to blow himself up if he failed to penetrate Modi’s cordon, or hurl a grenade at the crowd.
If the strike at the gathering could not be executed, the operatives were asked to eliminate a high-value target in Delhi or J&K, which could have “political and communal ramifications,” sources said. The operatives used the word VIP often, as heard in intercepts and mentioned in an FIR registered by the Delhi Police.
The Agencies believe that the strike was to be “spectacular.” Dujana, the newly appointed Lashkar commander wants to make his presence felt in the country. Sources in the intelligence agencies did not deny the possibility of al-Qaida’s Indian wing being behind the scenes.
The special cell registered an FIR against Lashkar and its operatives on December 1, and detailed the plans mentioned above.
In the FIR, Inspector Satish Rana, the first investigating officer of the case, says that he was in his office at Lodhi Colony around 6 pm on December 1 when secret information was received through a credible source. The information said that Lashkar-e-Taiba is planning/conspiring to carry out sensational terrorist attacks in Delhi and other places in the country. “The operatives are conspiring to target high profile personalities in Delhi by carrying out Fidayeen and grenade attacks,” the FIR says.
Sources also said that a terrorists from the group was arrested on November 24 during an operation conducted by IB and the special operations group (SOG). Identified as Shabir Ahmad Malik, the suspect was in Jammu since November 20 and was staying at the house of one Amir Alam Gujjar in the Bathindi area of south Kashmir. There were two others with him at the time of arrest. However, their role is not clear yet.
Meanwhile, teams led by inspectors Sanjay Dut and Govind Sharma went to J&K. Shabbir and others were interrogated by cell and others agencies.
“Shabbir was given Rs 47,000 and was asked to conduct a recce. He and others were then asked to carry out a Mumbai-like attack in Delhi or any other city. The plan to carry out an Udhampur type attack was also in the making,” an officer said. There were some custody-related issues between Delhi Police and J&K police who have always been at loggerheads, sources added.
The newspaper said despite several attempts special cell officers did not respond. An officer, in the know, said further details could not be shared because of the ongoing operation.