Militant Held In Mumbai Was Valley Councillor, Security Help
8 January 2006
The Indian Express
Srinagar: When Arshad Badroo was picked up by Mumbai Police in Nagpada last Friday, it was the climax to a real story with twists straight from an espionage thriller. This 25-year-old was the source of a security force unit, an elected councilor of the municipal council in his native Sopore, an activist of the National Conference and now a suspected member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit. A resident of Jamia Qadeem locality in Sopore, Badroo had left studies after Class XII and joined his cloth merchant brother in the family business. When militancy was at its peak, Badroo's elder sister Dr Shameema married the then Operations Chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Majeed Dar who later declared an unilateral ceasefire with New Delhi and held the first ever dialogue between Kashmiri militants and the Centre in 2000. Dar was soon expelled from Hizbul, thus splitting the outfit. In March 2003, Dar was killed by unidentified militants at his residence in Sopore. According to sources, the killing of Dar affected Badroo and he nursed a personal grudge against the militants. 'He didn't do anything sensational but there was anger. Then there was an attack on his sister's house in Srinagar which made him concerned about the security of the family,' a security force source told The Indian Express. 'He started to work for a local unit who gave him a pistol for his personal safety. And when municipal elections were held in the Valley after more than two decades last year, Badroo contested on a National Conference ticket from Jamia Qadeem locality (Ward no. 4) in Sopore despite a public threat by the militants. He was elected to the 21-member council. Majority council members were provided armed policemen for protection and Badroo too was provided with a PSO (personal security official).' Ghulam Rasool Dar, Sopore Municipal Council chairman, said: 'I know him for the past six-seven months. He would hardly come for our meetings. He came to me once with proposals for development works in his ward. In fact, I asked him why he didn't attend the meetings. He said he was busy with business work'. Nobody knew about Badroo's double life till Mumbai Police arrested him along with two others at Nagpada and claimed to have recovered two electronic circuits and three electronic remote control timers from him. When contacted, Badroo's family members too were not ready to speak on record. 'He had left for Mumbai along with a friend two weeks ago and was expected back home in a few days,' said a close family member who didn't wish to be named. 'We don't know beyond that'. But J-K Police- they have already dispatched a team to Mumbai to fetch the trio to Srinagar for interrogation-say they know everything now. 'Badroo was not on the list of our active network especially as he was a councilor as well. But he was under our scanner. He is the brother-in-law of the slain HM commander Majeed Dar,' Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, K Rajendra said. 'However, we were on a look out for the other two'. Rajendra said that Khursheed Ahmad Lone of Bandipore was an active member of Lashkar. 'He was working as an upperground till a month ago when we started looking for him. He is a courier and would ferry Lashkar militants from one place to another. He was, in fact, trying to leave the country,' he said. Sources reveal that Khursheed had been picked up by the Special Operations Group from his home in Bapora village at Bandipore a month ago and released after interrogation. 'His arm had broken and he had left his home 20 days ago saying he was going to Srinagar,' Lone's relatives told The Indian Express. 'We didn't know he had gone to Mumbai.' Haji Mohammad Ramzan (50) too is from Bandipore and was working as a contractor. 'He is an old overground worker of the militants,' SSP, Baramulla Ashkoor Wani told The Indian Express. IGP, Rajendra said that he (Haji) might be a conduit. 'We know about him as a financier (of the militants),' he said. 'We have sent a team to get all the three here for interrogation. I can tell you that Khursheed is wanted for three cases here. Let them reach here, they will tell everything'. Rajendra said that the trio was dispatched to Mumbai by Lashkar's Kashmir chief Bilal alias Salah-ud-din who is based in the Bandipore. When asked what was the purpose of the detonators that the group had smuggled to Mumbai, Rajendra said that 'arranging explosives is not difficult'. He said that the detonators are the only component in a bomb that cannot be procured. 'They could have easily got urea or other material used to make explosives. They had to put the exact amount and detonate it,' he said.