|File photo of police patrol (Pic: AA)|
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Alleged LeT operatives met two people in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar: Delhi Police
NEW DELHI (AA) - Delhi police on Tuesday claimed that two suspected Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives met two people in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The allegation comes three months after Congress Vice-President and Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi stoked a political controversy claiming that Pakistan’s main intelligence service ISI had approached disgruntled victims of Muzaffarnagar riots.
The LeT is one of the most active terrorist networks in South Asia.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday evening, S.N. Shrivastava, Delhi Police’s chief special commissioner, told the media that Liyaqat and Zameer, two residents of Muzaffarnagar, were met by suspected LeT operatives Mohammed Shahid and Mohammed Rashid, both of them imams arrested recently in the Haryana state.
However, Shrivastava was quick to deny a newspaper report that two residents were riot victims or had anything to do with Muzaffarnagar communal riots, which killed 61 people, most of them Muslims.
The Indian Express daily reported on Tuesday that two imams from Haryana had allegedly visited the relief camps where the victims of Muzaffarnagar communal riots are living and offered money to lure cadres.
“I would like to make it very clear that both Liyaqat and Zameer are not victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots, they have nothing to do with them. Although they live in Muzaffarnagar, they are not riot victims,” Shrivastava said.
In a spate of violence that broke out on September 7, at least 61 people were killed in Muzaffarnagar and neighboring towns and villages after a Muslim man was killed by the brother and cousin of a Hindu girl after allegedly harassing her.
The two killers -- from the Hindu Jat community -- were reportedly lynched by the family of the slain Muslim and others in the locality.
- LeT operatives ‘busted’
According to the senior police officer, the two suspects Shahid and Rashid approached Liqayat, a teacher with UP education department, and Zameer, a petty criminal, for a “kidnapping plot” and promised that “ransom money could be used to build a mosque”.
When asked by a reporter whether Zameer was told that money would also be used to avenge Muzaffarnagar riots, Shrivastava said, “It is just one-sided statement right now and unless we verify it, make more arrests in the case and interrogate them, we will not give any statement in the case till then”.
Zameer grew suspicious of the duo after they met him twice in Delhi, persuading him to arrange some men through whom kidnapping can be carried out and that money can be utilized in building mosque and other activities. Zameer alerted the Delhi police.
In December, Delhi police arrested the two alleged operatives Shahid and Rashid from Mewat region in Haryana claiming to have “busted” an active “LeT terror module” which was planning a militant strike in India’s capital.
“We interrogated them, checked their background and tracked all those people who were in contact with them,” Shrivastava said.
The Delhi Police tracked them down after the arrested clerics allegedly confessed that they had been ordered by the LeT to visit Muzaffarnagar and meet an old LeT operative, Abdul Subhan, who allegedly advised them to make gradual inroads in the riot-affected region.
However, India’s federal ministry said it is not convinced about the LeT link yet and further investigation is needed to support the Delhi police claim, reported NDTV, an English-language news channel.
Liqayat and Zameer appeared before a magistrate on Monday in Delhi and recorded their statements under India’s Criminal Procedure Code implicating the two LeT suspects.
In an election campaign rally in October 2013, Rahul Gandhi stoked a controversy claiming that intelligence officials told him that Pakistan’s ISI was trying to recruit dissatisfied youth from among the victims of Muzaffarnagar riots.
Anadolu Agency, January 7, 2014