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Planner of Nadimarg massacre arrested

Planner of Nadimarg massacre arrested

Author: Excelsior Special Correspondent
Publication: Daily Excelsior
Date: April 11, 2003
URL: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/03apr11/news.htm#1

Militants asked to set up hideouts at houses of PDP, Cong leaders

In a significant development, Jammu and Kashmir Police today claimed to have arrested a "District Commander" of the Jehadi militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, who, according to it, had planned the massacre of the members of Kashmiri Pandit community at Nadimarg, in Pulwama district. Twenty-four persons of the Police- protected community, including eleven women and two children, had been killed by unidentified gunmen in a midnight carnage at Nadimarg, on March 23 last.

Director General of J&K Police, A K Suri, told mediapersons at a crowded news conference here today that Lashkar-e-Toiba had suffered a major setback and police achieved a major breakthrough with the arrest of the outfit's "District Commander" in Anantnag. He produced the 25-year-old detainee before media and identified him as Zia Mustafa alias Arbaz alias Abdullah Omar R/o Rawalakote, Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. DGP, however, did not permit any questioning of the detainee. He pleaded that public disclosures of the militant could hamper the series of operations being conducted by Police over his revelations.

Suri claimed that Zia Mustafa had planned the massacre of Kashmiri Pandits on the instructions of his "Divisional Commander" Abu Omair, who had orders from his top leadership to avenge the killing of Muslims in Gujarat. Claiming to be quoting the revelations made by the detainee, Suri said that the slain "District Commander" of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abu Noman of Pakistan, had convened a meeting of his cadres on the directions of the "Divisional Commander" in December, 2002. It was, among others, attended by Zia Mustafa.

The meeting decided to attack activists of VHP and RSS, besides Hindu temples all over India, Suri said. Other decisions taken in the meeting included ban on sending children to Army schools as also to establish base in Delhi, Gujarat and other Muslim localities "for waging jehad". The Lashkar commanders, according to the DGP, had been directed by their top leadership to set up hideouts at the houses of the PDP, Congress and National Conference leaders in the Valley. Houses of the local Police, military and paramilitary officials were also supposed to be used as hideouts, DGP said.

Yet another important directive to the militants, according to DGP, was to generate local resources in addition to what they had been getting from Pakistan. Assets looted from the minority community as "maal-e-ganeemat" were also supposed to be converted into financial resources of the outfit. Suri claimed that, in addition to being the "District Commander" of his outfit, Zia Mustafa had also been operating as "Financial Chief" for his organisation in Anantnag.

According to the DGP, Zia Mustafa had already confessed his active involvement in militants' suicide strikes on security forces, besides killing of security forces personnel and the infamous massacre at Nadimarg. He claimed that the detainee was also responsible for a suicide strike on Awantipore base of the Indian Air Force in 2001. "It's now clearly established that Nadimarg was the handiwork of militants and their mentors in Pakistan", Suri asserted. He said that infiltration of militants from across the border was continuing without a thaw.

Suri said that Zia Mustafa had infiltrated into the Valley in September, 2001, and he had been operating alongwith half-a-dozen of his associates from Narwani village in Pulwama district. He had established contacts, cultivated sources and recruited fresh cadres for his organisation. The DGP did not disclose wherefrom Zia Mustafa had been arrested by Police.

Asked how much credible his disclosures were in the wake of the infamous Pathribal incident (in which five innocent civilians had been killed by Army and labeled as killers of 35 Sikhs in Chittisinghpura), Suri said: "Every incident is separate. I leave it you, whether to believe it or not". He added, "I'm producing (before you) a live person, not a dead body".

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