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August 23, 2000
J&K cops arrest 6 for Srinagar blast
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
With the arrest of six persons, the Jammu & Kashmir police on Wednesday claimed to have made a breakthrough in the investigation into the August 10 car bombing that killed 15 persons, including 11 policemen and The Hindustan Times photojournalist Pradeep Bhatia, in Srinagar's Residency Road area.
A police spokesman said preliminary investigations had revealed that the bomb was a remote-controlled device triggered from Srinagar's bund side. The deadly black explosive was planted in a 5kg LPG cylinder. He claimed that the six persons arrested were members of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The LPG cylinder, police said, was placed in a pack in a car belonging to the Jammu & Kashmir Bank, which was driven all the way from Hyderpora in the city to the State Bank of India Lane on Residency Road.
"The car was brought to SBI Lane by a foreign militant identified as Iqbal alias Abu Huraira, along with Mir Hussain Cheeche alias Shabbir alias Kaloo Khan and a female companion," the spokesman said. Thereafter "a grenade was hurled by Iqbal Khan to ensure the presence of the maximum number of policemen and media persons on the spot".
Shafat Reshi alias Zubair, a resident of uptown Srinagar, and Iqbal triggered the improvised explosive device with remote control. The extremists planned the bombing, police said, at two meetings at the Hyderpora residence of one Haji Ali Mohammad. The IED was fabricated in Haji's house and later fitted in the car, the spokesman said.
Police have arrested Haji and his son Abdul Hameed. The bank's driver, the police spokesman said, has also been arrested. He said the driver had delivered the car at Hyderpora. But the driver had told the police that two militants had hijacked his vehicle near Maisuma.
The Hizbul Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attack. Among the policemen killed were the area's deputy superintendent of police and the local station house officer.
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