|Weapons seized from the arrested persons. (PTI)
Lucknow, Nov. 16: The Jaish-e-Mohammed’s VVIP kidnap plot points to militants’ success in building a huge and efficient network of contacts within India, police said today.
One of the most surprising things about the three Pakistanis arrested near Lucknow this morning was that none of them carried a mobile phone, said Shailajakant Mishra, additional director-general of the special task force.
He said the reason was clear: mobile calls can be traced and had in the past led to the arrest of many militants, so the plotters had decided to eschew them.
However, the fact that Jaish hoped to carry out such a huge operation without cellphones suggests that the militants have infiltrated Indian territory with a large number of sleeper cells and also built local networks, he said.
“The three arrested men may have been in touch with people at the various stations (during their November 14-15 journey from Jammu to Delhi) whom they did not know from before,” he said.
The trio — all believed to be Pakistanis — allegedly carried fake identity cards as Kashmir residents, issued in the name of Faruk Ahmad Darr, Mohammed Yusuf and Mohammed Ayub (the last two names are apparently genuine).
They have allegedly confessed to a plot to kidnap a “VVIP” and trade him or her off for 42 jailed militants.
Officers today released the 42 names, saying Ayub, the gang leader, had revealed all the names from his memory.
Seeing the look of incredulity on the faces of many of the reporters, an officer quickly said that the feat had surprised the police, too. He added that it just showed how “indoctrinated” the militants were.
However, the police themselves had suggested that the negotiations after the abduction were to be carried out at an international level, implying the trio did not need to know the names of the 42.
Jaish planned to contact two journalists working for a leading global news agency to air the news of the abduction, the police said, adding that the militants had revealed the journalists’ names, too. The demand for the release of the 42 was to be raised through the United Nations.
The list is topped by Afzal Guru, sentenced to be hanged for the December 2001 attack on Parliament. The next five are Nasrulla Mansur of Gujrat, Abdul Matin and Abdul Majid of Sindh, and Mohammed Aslam and Manzur Hussain of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.