January 2008 News

Breach Of Security

31 January 2008
India Today Group

Srinagar: Officials in Jammu and Kashmir deny it and call it an “exercise in sensationalism” by the media. But privately they admit that they recently uncovered a plot by militants to assassinate Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. Well-placed sources responsible for Azad’s security revealed that an intelligence intercept two months back triggered a major overhaul of the chief minister’s security. According to them, a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) cadre was trying to study and report Azad’s “security grid reference”. Prior to that, a Border Security Force soldier posted at the Srinagar residence of the chief minister was detained for his alleged contacts with Lashkar commanders. The trooper had allegedly claimed in his telephonic conversations with LeT commanders that he could be of help in carrying out any plan to target Azad, the sources said. Subsequently, top officials this month shifted out nearly a dozen persons posted at Azad’s residence in the winter capital Jammu. Among them, a telephone operator is being questioned for possible links with militants. Also, Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel in the chief minister’s inner security ring are being replaced by the commandos of the National Security Guards. “Their replacement will be completed by the end of next month,” sources said. Soon after the dramatic assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27 last year, security officials in the state had raised their guard securing mainstream politicians who have always been choice targets of separatist militants. The officials feared the attack on Bhutto could well “inspire” militants to target political bigwigs like Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

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