Female Law Student, Top Ultra Held With Grenades
7 September 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Few days after eliminating Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) 'divisional commander' Saifullah Qari and apprehending his Pakistani associate Zaffar Iqbal besides cracking a wide network of the outfit in Poonch and Jammu including arrest of three women cadre, Special Operations Group (SOG), Jammu today arrested another young girl and a Law student along with a deadly consignment of explosives, given to her by a top Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Surankote.Late tonight, a police party sent from Jammu with the assistance of Surankote police succeeded in apprehending the Hizbul Mujahideen militant from Gounthal. Twenty one year old Nahida Altaf daughter of a police head constable Altaf Hussain and a resident of Iqbal Nagar, Surankote in Poonch district, who was a third year student of Dogra Law College was arrested from a Maruti 800 steel grey colour car bearing registration number 8736 JK02AB at Tanda on Sunderbani-Akhnoor border this morning as soon as she entered the jurisdiction of Jammu district in the car driven by his father in which Nahida's mother, Zebun Nissa, HoD District Institute of Education and Technology (DIET), present posted in Poonch was also travelling. The operation was executed by SP (Operations) Jammu Mubassar Lateefi and DySP (Operations) Jammu Mamata Sharma under the supervision of IGP Jammu Dr Shesh Pal Vaid and SSP Jammu Parminder Singh. Additional SP Jammu Shakti Pathak, SDPO Akhnoor Atul Sharma and Inspector Sunil Jasrotia also joined the operation. Sources said the SOG Jammu and a Central Intelligence agency had developed a specific information that a young girl student, who had actively been working for Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, was scheduled to smuggle a consignment of deadly explosives to Jammu City to carry out terror strikes and take the revenge of Saifullah Qari's killing and arrest of Zaffar Iqbal. On the basis of input, police had sealed Poonch-Jammu road at several places and all passing vehicles were being searched by plainclothesmen. The girl was spotted travelling in the Maruti car this morning and was arrested at Tanda. The car was seized. Her parents have also been taken into custody for questioning but preliminary police investigations tonight revealed that the girl was smuggling the consignment without their knowledge. The parents were not aware that Nahida was working for Hizbul Mujahideen, sources said. Police recovered a grenade launcher (Under Barrel Grenade Launcher) and eight rifle grenades from a bag hidden in the dickey of the Maruti car by Nahida Altaf. At least eight grenade attacks could have been launched from the UBGL with as many rifle grenades, sources said, adding this was for the first time that the militants had planned to launch rifle grenade attacks in Jammu City. 'Advantage of firing grenades from the UBGL is that the militants could have executed the task from a distance. A rifle grenade can hit a visible target from a distance of at least half a kilometer', sources said, adding this time again (like Saifullah Qari's plot) the target was Jammu City. The SOG Jammu has averted a major tragedy with the arrest of Nahida Altaf and recovery of explosives consignment from her possession. Nahida Altaf has been booked under FIR No. 139 at Akhnoor Police Station under Section 4-5 Explosives Substance Act and 7-25 Arms Act. Her preliminary interrogation revealed that she had been given the consignment of rifle grenades and grenade launcher by a top Hizbul Mujahideen militant Altaf Ahmed son of Ghulam Ahmed Khan, a resident of Gounthal and an active militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. Immediately after Nahida's disclosure, a special police team was dispatched to Surankote. With the help of local police, the police teams succeeded in apprehending Altaf Ahmed tonight. He was being brought here under tight security. According to sources, Altaf Ahmed was in Central Jail, Jammu for last eight years for his involvement in militancy. He was instrumental in several blasts including a grenade attack at Surankote bus stand. He was released only two months back from the jail and had again joined Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. Sources said Nahida Altaf revealed that on reaching Jammu she was to keep the bag containing grenade launcher and eight rifle grenades in her room. She was told that a militant would collect the consignment from her room in next two days. The SOG Jammu and City police was conducting massive searches in different parts of the City to apprehend the militant, who had to collect the consignment as he was stated to be very much present in the City. As far as target of the militants was concerned, Nahida Altaf claimed that she was not aware of it. The militant, who had to collect the consignment and Altaf Ahmed were aware of the terror plot which had been planned by Hizbul 'divisional commander' Abu Khalid, presently operating from Pir Panjal range. Police have kept identity of the militant, active in the City here, as a secret till his arrest. This is second incident of its kind wherein the militants have used a college student to work for them and kept the consignment of explosives with them. Prior to this, a student of Kawa Institute was arrested by the police on similar grounds. Nahida too was a third year Law student. According to sources, some more students from twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri or Doda district might have been lured by the militants to work for them as their hostel rooms could easily act as dumping grounds for arms and explosives which was evident from Nahida's statement that she had to keep the explosive devices in her room. Sources said Nahida's mother, Zebun Nissa was seriously injured in a car accident and was crippled. Nahida's father, a head constable, had also participated in several successful anti- militancy operations. Initially, they didn't appear to be involved with Nahida but both of them are being questioned. Only last month, police had gunned down JeM 'divisional commander' Saifullah Qari, who had masterminded a fidayeen attack in Ayodhya on July 5, 2005 and captured his Pakistani associate Zaffar Iqbal in an injured condition after an encounter at Janipura. Following Zaffar's disclosures, five to six militants and over ground cadre of Jaish including a mother-daughter duo from Mendhar were arrested by the SOG Jammu and police for their involvement in militancy and giving shelter to dreaded ultras. Sources said the militants were trying to go all out to target Jammu City but their designs have been foiled by police so far. Some more arrests and recoveries were expected by police from Jammu and Surankote after sustained interrogating of Nahida Altaf and Altaf Ahmed, sources said.