Delhi police have arrested two suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), terrorists who were planning to target three crowded markets, two important tourist destinations, a religious structure and a gas pipeline in Delhi with grenades during the Republic Day celebrations in the National capital.
The markets that the terrorists were allegedly planning to target are Lajpat Nagar, Palika Bazar and Jama Masjid, police confirmed. The other places on their hit list were India Gate and Rajpath and the gas pipeline that passes through north Delhi’s Wazirabad, police said.
According reports, to the Delhi police special cell has informed that the interrogation of two terrorists namely, Abdul Latif Ganai, alias Umair alias Dilawar, who was arrested late night on January 20 and Hilal revealed their plans to attack the Lajpat Nagar market and the gas pipeline in East Delhi amongst other places and had already done the recce of the areas, confirmed the police.
As per Deputy Commissioner of Police (special cell) Pramod Singh Kushwaha, “an input was received from a very reliable source that a terrorist of JeM who masterminded a spree of recent grenade attacks in Srinagar was planning similar terror strikes in heavy footfall areas in Delhi during the Republic day celebrations”.
Pramod Singh confirmed that Abdul Latif was arrested from Rajghat late Sunday, “he was staying at a house in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar,” said the DCP, adding that a semi-automatic pistol, 26 cartridges and three “rubber stamps” with names of the some top JeM terrorists were allegedly recovered from him.
Ganai was previously arrested in two cases of stone pelting in J&K. “His father was a surrendered terrorist who later helped security forces,” said Kushwah.
Ganai’s interrogation led the police to the other suspect, 26-year-old Hilal Ahmad Bhat, who was arrested from Bandipora on Wednesday. A search of Bhat’s house allegedly led to the recovery of two hand grenades.
Police said the arrested men had procured more than a dozen grenades and improvised explosives from Ganai’s Pakistani handler Abu Mauz alias Abu Bakar.
Mauz had allegedly ordered Ganai to throw grenades on armed and police forces in Jammu and Kashmir and at “vital places” in Delhi to “disrupt” the Republic Day celebrations.
With less than 24 hours remaining for the Republic day celebrations to commence, a multi-level security ring will be in place around Central Delhi and the Rajpath area.
As per a report in the Hindustan Times, around 5,500 personnel from Delhi police, National Security Guards and paramilitary forces will safeguard the Central and New Delhi areas on Friday and Saturday.
High-resolution face-recognising night-vision cameras and communication jammers will be deployed. Spotters and snipers will also be positioned on the roofs of high rises in these areas. Busy markets, shopping malls, monuments and important government buildings in Delhi will be patrolled by Delhi police’s NSG-trained Parakram teams.
Indian Air Force radars will also keep watch on the aerial activities in and around Delhi during the R-Day celebrations. Police said all low-flying objects which go undetected by radars would also be scrutinised closely.
Along with additional deployment of commandos at Metro stations and increased number of anti-sabotage drills by the dog squad and bomb detection teams, plainclothes armed men have also been deployed inside airport terminals.
Services of Delhi Metro trains would be curtailed following Republic day celebrations in the Capital. The highrises in and around the area of parade would be evacuated and sealed after 12 pm on January 25.
Meanwhile, security has also been increased in Jammu and Kashmir, especially on Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Last year, during the same time of the year, Kashganj in Uttar Pradesh was marred with communal violence as members of a particular community had disrupted the Republic day celebrations and a youth named Chandan Gupta succumbed to his injuries after the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ carried out by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) volunteers, the students wing of the RSS had turned coercive.