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December 16, 2001
1710 IST

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Delhi police point finger at Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma on Sunday said that the attack on Parliament was carried out by members of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed at the behest of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

He said that four persons - Mohammed Afzal, Shaukat, Shaukat's wife and Abdul Rehman Geelani, a professor at the Zakir Hussain College of Delhi University, had been arrested in connection with Thursday's attack on Parliament.

Geelani disclosed that he along with Mohammad Afzal (30) and Shaukat Hussain Guru (34), both residents of Sopore in Kashmir, had been in touch with the slain terrorists, Sharma said.

Geelani told interrogators that Afzal was the main coordinator of the Jaish in Delhi, he said.

Geelani said that the plan to attack Parliament was hatched in Shaukat's house in the first week of December, he added.

Afzal and Shaukat - commission agents and residents of Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district - were the brains behind the conspiracy, Sharma said.

While Afzal dealt in medical equipment, Shaukat dealt in fruits, Sharma informed mediapersons at a press conference in Delhi.

Sharma said that Afzal and Shaukat were working on the instructions of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.

They were being motivated by Ghazi baba alias doctor, who a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province and the top commander of the Jaish in Kashmir, to carry out the attack, he said.

The members of the suicide squad, which carried out the actual attack, were Mohammed (leader), Hamza, Haider alias Tufial, Rana and Raja, all active militants of the JeM, Sharma said.

The Jaish is headed by Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the militants released in exchange for Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

Earlier, on Friday the government had blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba for the attack saying it had 'credible evidence' and formally asked Islamabad to arrest the leadership of LeT and another militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad and freeze their assets.

Sharma said that though the ISI had told the Jaish and Lashkar-e-Tayiba to carry out the attack, the actual attack was carried out by members of the Jaish.

Interrogation of Geelani and Shaukat's wife revealed that the conspiracy was hatched in Shaukat's residence in Mukherjee Nagar, Sharma said.

"These people went to the airport first, but later changed their mind and headed towards Parliament," Sharma said.

Before the attack took place, the leader of the suicide attack squad - Mohammed - had called up Shaukat and told him to watch television and tell them which of the prominent parliamentarians were present in the House, he said.

However, when Shaukat did not call back, the terrorists decided to go ahead with the attack, he said.

When the attack took place, Mohammed blew himself up while the others were overpowered by security forces, Sharma said.

Shaukat's truck was used to bring the terrorists to Delhi in batches, he said.

Sharma also clarified that Geelani was no relative of All Party Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

During his interrogation, Geelani revealed that following the attack on Parliament Afzal and Shaukat had left for Srinagar by road carrying a lap top and Rs one million in cash.

Following this tip-off, the J&K police arrested the two conspirators from the Sabzi Mandi area in Srinagar, he said.

The J&K police also arrested two truck drivers and a cleaner of Shaukat's truck, he said.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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