Geelani's Words Helped Lashker-e-Taiba Man Ehtesham Secure Pakistan Visa

Geelani's Words Helped Lashker-e-Taiba Man Ehtesham Secure Pakistan Visa

1 March 2012
The Economic Times


New Delhi: Ehtesham, one of the two Lashker-e-Taiba operatives arrested here on Wednesday for plotting bomb blasts in crowded areas of Delhi, is said to have visited Pakistan on a visa issued by the Pakistani High Commission, allegedly on the recommendation of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. According to sources in the Delhi Police, Ehtesham, a Kashmiri who lived in Giridih, Jharkhand, with his mother, had applied for a Pakistani visa first in November 2011. Holding a passport issued in Jharkhand, his secret mission was to visit Pakistan for terror training. Interestingly, the Pakistani High Commission turned down his visa application, raising suspicion on why a man who looked like a Kashmiri had got a passport issued in Jharkhand. A determined Ehtesham then allegedly approached Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for a recommendation to help him secure a visa to Pakistan. Geelani is said to have obliged him with the same, police sources revealed. The police, however, are not sure if Geelani knew the real purpose of Ehtesham's intended visit to Pakistan. Official sources said a copy of the recommendation letter given by Geelani was found in the papers seized from 24-year old Ehtesham. It is believed that Geelani's recommendation did the job for Ehtesham, who got the Pakistani visa in December 2011. He is said to have visited Pakistan between December 2011 and January 2012 for nearly a month. Probe reveal he was trained by LeT commander Hamzallah in Pakistan, with special emphasis on assembling bombs with locally available low-cost material. Meanwhile, a third member of the LeT module, Tauseef, was arrested from Jharkhand on Thursday. He was picked up from Ehtesham's house in Giridih. Interrogation of the arrested LeT men has revealed that they had joined the Lashker-e-Taiba in 2006. All of them are Kashmiris, with the two operatives arrested on Wednesday hailing from Sopore, a militancy hotbed. They two had allegedly shifted to Jharkhand, from where Ehtesham's mother hails, a couple of years back to escape suspicion. Apart from planning to carry out bomb blasts in the crowded Chandni Chowk market, the LeT module was plotting explosions at the State Bank of India branch on Residency Road in Srinagar. Ehtesham is allegedly an expert in making bombs from low-cost, locally available explosives. His training in locally assembling bombs is part of the LeT's well-thought out strategy to train Indian youth so as to project terror attacks as a handiwork of indigenous elements. This also helps LeT promote animosity among communities here, thus realising its larger objective of destabilising national harmony and peace.