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Garlanding Rahul Gandhi with grenades was aim of JeM militants
November 22, 2007 17:25 IST
Garlanding of Rahul Gandhi [Images] with grenades before kidnapping him to put up their demands was the "plan" of the three Jaish-e-Mohammed militants nabbed in Uttar Pradesh last week, interrogation of them has revealed, official sources said.
The detailed interrogation of Mohammed Abid, Yusuf and Mirza Rashid, arrested in Lucknow last week, by personnel of the Central security agencies, revealed that they would have garlanded the young Rahul with grenades before taking him hostage.
They were planning to later put forward their demands of release of some of their men from Indian jails including Mohammed Afzal, condemned prisoner in the 2001 Parliament attack, the sources said.
The arrest of the Jaish militants, under a well-executed operation of the Central security agencies and the UP police, also brought to light that JeM was concentrating only on hitting big targets rather than carrying out suicide attacks or triggering explosions, they said.
The JeM gained notoriety after hijacking Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999, carrying out the Parliament attack, killing of Wall Street Journal Daniel Pearl and attack on Jammu and Kashmir [Images] state assembly.
According to the plan, the three were shown videos of Rahul during their stay in Sialkot (Pakistan) where they were also trained by Ibrahim Ather (one of the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane) and Abdul Rauf, brother-in-law of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
The task of the three militants was to recce the areas where Rahul, member of Parliament from Amethi, used to visit and later chalk out a plan for taking him as hostage.
The militants wanted to take Rahul hostage and then seek intervention of the United Nations for release of their JeM men lodged in various jails.
The sources said the three militants had entered into the country separately through the international border in Jammu region before starting their journey together from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
After purchasing a car, they replaced its number plate with that of a truck and started roaming in the Lucknow city to find a suitable location as their hideout.
However, they ran short of luck as their activities came under the radar of the intelligence agencies, who laid a trap with the UP police and arrested them.
In a related development, the Union home ministry has reviewed the security arrangements of all VVIPs including Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images], her daughter Priyanka and Rahul.
The ministry suggested whether the security measures at the All India Congress Committee headquarters were adequate or needed to be further strengthened as Rahul, after being appointed as the AICC general secretary, used to frequently visit the office.
However, the elite Special Protection Group, providing security to the Gandhi family, informed the meeting that there was no security threat to anyone as all security measures had been taken.
Ather and Rauf were on the list of 20 most wanted terrorists based in Pakistan that New Delhi handed over to Islamabad five years back.
An Interpol notice exists against the two.