The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested two suspected militants under the Arms Act and said they were Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) sympathisers who were allegedly trying to cross over into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Police arrested the two men — both Kashmiris — from the Sarai Kale Khan area and claimed they had been directed by their handler to come to the Capital, where they would meet a person who would arrange for arms training in Uttar Pradesh before helping them get to Nepal and from there to PoK.
DCP (Special Cell) Sanjeev Yadav said they laid a trap near Millennium Park in Sarai Kale Khan on Monday night after receiving information that a group of newly recruited Jaish terrorists would be coming to Delhi.
“Around 10.15 pm, two suspected militants identified as Abdul Latif Mir (22), a resident of Doru village in J&K’s Baramulla district, and Mohd Ashraf Khatana (20), a resident of Hat Mulla village of Kupwara district, have been arrested by our team.
Abdul Latif’s father is a court munshi in the district court of Sopore and Mohd Ashraf’s father is retired from J&K Light Infantry,” he said.
Police claimed to have recovered two semi-automatic pistols, along with 10 live cartridges and an ID card of Madrasa Islamia Arabia, from the two men. They have been produced before a Delhi court and sent to police custody for three days.
Yadav said that during questioning, the two men called Jaish leader Maulana Masood Azhar their role model. He said the Abdul Latif and Mohd Ashraf had thrice in the last four months tried to cross over into PoK through the Line of Control (LoC), but failed, and that their cellphones have footage showing five to six youths, including both the accused, trying to cross the LoC.
“Around four months ago, Abdul Latif came in contact with one Aftab Malik, a resident of Lahore in Pakistan, through Facebook Messenger,” Yadav said. “Mir requested Aftab to give him a chance to join Masood Azhar. When Aftab invited him to Pakistan, Mir told him that he along with his friend Mohd Ashraf had tried to enter Pakistan through Kupwara but failed due to tight vigil at the LoC. Later, they came in contact with Pakistan-based Jaish operatives through Aftab.”
Yadav added that the two were directed to come to Delhi, where they were to meet someone who would help them get basic arms training in UP, before arranging for their crossover into Pakistan. “Accordingly, they procured arms and ammunition from one of their associates, who was with them in their unsuccessful attempt to cross over to PoK from Kupwara, and came to Delhi where they were apprehended,” Yadav said.
Speaking to The Indian Express from Sopore, Abdul Latif’s father Sonaullah Mir told The Indian Express that his son is innocent and has never been involved in any militant activity.
“He left home on November 4 for the Darul Aloom Bilaliya (a seminary in Srinagar), where he had been studying, telling us he has to get his books from there,” Mir said. “He said he would be accompanied by a friend from Kupwara but didn’t tell us his name”.
Mir said Latif called them on November 6, saying he would return home that after which his phone was switched off. “When there was no information, we went to the Darul Aloom in Srinagar to look for him. They said he hadn’t come there”.
Mir then approached the police and filed a missing report on November 12.
“Police tracked Latif’s phone to Deoband and then to Delhi. We were shocked when we got a call from the police today morning saying he has been arrested in Delhi,” Mir said.
The other youth, Mohammad Ashraf, was to get married on November 12, eight days after he went missing. Ashraf’s family said he had left home to shop for his wedding.
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