Was Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin Part Of HC Blast Conspiracy?24 October 2011
Times of India
New Delhi: Was Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who is based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, part of the conspiracy to bomb Delhi High Court on September 7? According to sources, Wasim Malik, the medical student from Kishtwar who is emerging as the key conspirator in the blast, had approached Jehangir Saroori, a senior HuM commander in Kashmir Valley, to get the blessings of Salahuddin. And indications are that Salahuddin may have given the go-ahead for the bomb blast after much prodding, sources said. Salahuddin, who heads the United Jihad Council, a network of militant groups operating in Kashmir, is among the most powerful voices in Kashmir militancy. A source told TOI, 'Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin may have given the go-ahead for carrying out the attack on the high court. And through Saroori, he may have provided two bombers to the main conspirator Wasim Malik.' Sources said there was yet no final confirmation if Malik, who was sent to 14-day judicial custody on Monday, got a definite go-ahead from Salahuddin. But it is confirmed that he was in touch with Saroori. 'When he (Salahuddin) was convinced, he may have offered the two bombers, identified as Saifullah and Bilal, and told Malik they will help in the operation,' a source said of the developing line of investigation. The startling disclosure, possibly linking Salahuddin to the HC blast, was made by Malik in his confession to NIA officials. Sources said after the two bombers, who are reportedly hardcore cadres of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was given to Malik in June, the medical student came to Delhi at least three times and conducted recce at the Delhi HC. 'After conducting a thorough recce, he found that Gate No. 5 was the only place at HC which was crowded from morning till evening. So he decided to keep the IED there,' said an officer. From June to August-end, the officer added, Malik and the two bombers had several meetings about the plan. 'On September 6, two bombers, Saifullah and Bilal, and one of the three wanted Kashmiri boys - Junaid Malik (brother of Wasim Malik), Shakir Sheikh and Amir Ali Kamal - came to Delhi and kept the bomb near Gate No. 5 and left. Wasim Malik did not come to keep the bomb,' said the officer. It was Kamal who introduced Malik to Saroori, sources said. According to indications, Salahuddin was not ready for the plan as HuM used to operate only in Jammu and Kashmir. Malik convinced Salahuddin through Saroori that taking their jihad to Delhi would be a good thing for the outfit, sources claimed. Prior to approaching Salahuddin, Malik had tried to rope in some of his friends from Bangladesh, where he studies, but they could not execute his plan due to lack of logistics, sources claimed. Malik also told the interrogators that he had planned this attack to protest the execution of Afzal Guru, a death row convict in the Parliament attack case. 'He disclosed that he wanted to target lawyers as he considered lawyers responsible for sentencing of Afzal Guru,' an officer said. Meanwhile, NIA and Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday reportedly carried out raids in the higher reaches of Kishtwar to look for Malik's brother Junaid. NIA had last week announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for the arrest of Junaid, Shakir alias Chota Hafiz and Amir Ali Kamal as they reportedly played 'crucial role' in the blast.