January 2001 News

Police believe raiders hiding in Srinagar

3 January 2001
The Statesman

New Delhi: The Delhi Police today released computer generated portraits of the four absconding militants involved in the Red Fort raid. The four — Abu Saad, Abu Haider, Abu Sukhar and Billal Ahmed — are believed by the police to be hiding in Srinagar. Investigations are also being conducted on the leads provided by the arrested “mastermind” of the raid — Ashfaq Ahmed. Police officials said that the focus of these inquiries are on the hawala traders of Old Delhi, who had helped finance the militants’ operations and the local “sympathisers” who had helped in planning the raid. The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the hawala angle, they said adding that a police team is also going to Mumbai, to follow leads on the militants’ contacts there. According to the police, six militants had taken part in the attack. Apart from Ashfaq, who is in police custody, Abu Shamal was killed in an “encounter”. It may be noted that the NHRC has decided to investigate the “encounter”, which is still mired in controversy. Ashfaq’s interrogation has also revealed some details of the attack’s preparation. He told the police that the militants had watched the Sound and Light Show on the evening of the raid. Abu Shamal and Abu Saad had entered the Army area in the Red Fort while Ahmed and the three other three militants had gone out of the complex with the crowd. The rest had taken positions outside the Red Fort. Saad and Shamal, after killing the three men, had escaped through the eastern wall of the Red Fort. The militants had dumped their weapons, magazines and grenades near the fort. Police officials stressed that they consider the Capital to be vulnerable to militant attacks in the coming days. “It is quite possible that they are planning strikes to prove their point now,” an officer said. The police is on “high alert”. The increased vigil will remain not only till 26 January, the Republic Day but till 30 January, the day of the beating the retreat ceremony


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