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Was nabbed Hizbul militant Syed Liyaqat Shah on way to surrender?

Srinagar/New Delhi: Was Syed Liyaqat Shah, a former militant of Al Barq terror outfit, on his way to surrender to the Kashmir Police when the Delhi Police claimed to have nabbed him for planning a terror strike in the national capital?

His arrest, announced by Delhi Police's Special Commissioner (Special Cell) S N Srivastava on Friday, has left the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir upset and they were planning to take up the matter with Union Home Ministry.

Delhi Police. Reuters

Delhi Police. Reuters

The return of Liyaqat, who was claimed by Delhi Police as a member of Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, was known to the authorities including the local army formation, official sources in Kashmir said.

The state government had entered into an unwritten understanding with the Union Home Ministry that any youth who had joined militant ranks in 1990s and wishing to return via Nepal would be allowed to do it provided he surrenders before army or police in the valley.

This way, the sources said, many such youths had returned quietly without any sensation being created. In many cases these returnees had helped security agencies in understanding various terror groups operating from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Liyaqat, whose family had contacted authorities in the state and sought their help in ensuring his return and was given assurances.

His arrest may now deter youths from PoK who want to shun the path of violence and join the national mainstream, the sources said.

Liyaqat, who was nabbed along with Arshad Mir and eight other family members in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, was questioned at length, the sources said.

Three days ago, Jammu and Kashmir Police had asked Delhi Police to release him and allow him to reach Srinagar where he would be placed under arrest as per the procedure.

This view was supported by central security agencies as well, the sources said.

Srivastava, during his press conference, also said that they had "contacted Jammu and Kashmir police informally".

During his press conference, Srivastava claimed that he had been arrested on 15 March.

But when reporters asked him whether Liyaqat was on his way to surrender, Srivastava said "He (Liyaqat) told us that Mutihada (United) Jehad Council meeting was held in early January during which plans were made to observe January 26 black day," Srivastava told reporters.

The Jehad council, a conglomerate of various terrorist groups, has been observing black day on January 26 or August 15 and the revelation was nothing new.

Liyaqat, a member of disbanded Al Barq terror outfit, had settled and married again in PoK.

There are no serious charges against him, said a state police official.

Asked whether the planned terror strikes were intended as a revenge for the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, Srivastava said the Jihad Council had met in January and they were planning to conduct strikes here.

When pointed out that Afzal hanging took place later, the senior Delhi Police official fumbled and said the instructions were passed on later.

PTI