New Delhi: Close on the heels of some countries alerting their citizens against visiting crowded markets in New Delhi, Indian officials have scaled down the level of threat perception after the arrest of three alleged agents of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba last week.
The alleged terrorists have been arrested in Hyderabad, Srinagar and Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Arms and ammunition have been recovered from them, a home ministry official said.
“They were to strike at different places in the country,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “Their arrest has definitely lowered down the level of threat in Delhi.”
Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, in his mid-30s, was picked up from Hyderabad based on intelligence inputs from the newly set up National Investigating Agency (NIA).
“Zia was working as driver with a high-ranking official of US audit firm Deloitte’s office in Hyderabad,” the official said. “He was tasked to carry out attacks in Hyderabad city as well as Deloitte’s office.”
“The man that the NIA is said to be holding is not an employee of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and never has been,” the company said in an emailed release. “We are in contact with the authorities and appropriate action is being taken to safeguard our people and our operations.”
Zia was brainwashed and turned into a terrorist when he went to visit his father in Saudi Arabia in 1995. He was then sent to Pakistan in 2002, where he underwent training with other terrorists. In 2007, he returned to Delhi and collected grenades and weapons. He was asked to remain silent until he received the next directive from his Pakistani handlers, the ministry official said.
Another agent to be picked up was Umar Zargar from Srinagar. He had been allegedly ordered to carry out attacks in New Delhi on weekends.
Zargar was supposed to pick up a consignment of explosives and reach the Capital on 27 April. But he was detained last week as part of a group of stone pelters. He was set to execute terror strikes on 1 May, the official said.
Both Zia and Zargar had a common handler in Pakistan. The third agent who was arrested is a Kashmiri resident of Kathmandu, the official said.
“He is presently in the custody of Nepal police... We are trying for his extradition, but it seems difficult due to the present political situation in Nepal,” the official added.
The US, the UK and Australia had issued advisories to their citizens, warning of an “imminent threat” and asking them to avoid marketplaces such as Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash in the Capital.
The city went on high alert and deployed hundreds of policemen at crowded market-places after the advisories were issued.