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Holi attack foiled: Police

New Delhi, March 22: Delhi police today claimed to have foiled a “fidayeen attack” in the national capital during Holi with the arrest of a suspected Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorist from Uttar Pradesh and seizure of ammunition from a guesthouse here.

Syed Liyaqat Shah, a resident of Kashmir’s Kupwara described as a “talent scout”, was to supervise the fidayeen recruits who would commit “spectacular” strikes in Delhi, an officer said.

“His task was to draw up a workable plan by selecting the best possible target where maximum casualties could be inflicted,” special commissioner S.N. Srivastava said.

Shah’s family claimed he had been framed as he was returning to Kashmir from Pakistan under a rehabilitation policy announced by the Omar Abdullah government for militants who wish to join the mainstream. But Srivastava denied this. “He is not a surrendered militant.”

Asked whether the aborted strikes were against Afzal Guru’s hanging, Srivastava said the Muttahida Jihad Council, the umbrella group of terror outfits that put Shah on the job, had met in January and planned attacks in Delhi. When told Afzal was hanged only in February, Srivastava said the instructions were passed on later.

Shah’s interrogation led to a raid on the guesthouse in Delhi’s Jama Masjid area where a contact was waiting for him.

Though the contact, from whom Shah would have got further instructions, could not be arrested, Srivastava said the police seized AK-56, three hand grenades, 220gm of explosives, a memory card and dry fruits from the building.

Shah was arrested from Gorakhpur, just after he had crossed over from Nepal on way from Pakistan with his second wife and daughter. He had been given a Pakistani passport and was directed to destroy it once he reached India “to ensure there is no evidence to link him with Pakistan”, Srivastava said.

But in Kashmir, Shah’s first wife Ameena said they had informed the state government about his return.