Today's Paper

Poll-eve terror strike averted

Praveen Swami

SRINAGAR: Police in Jammu and Kashmir have arrested three Pakistani nationals who, they say, were preparing to stage a large-scale fidayeen attack in the State’s winter capital, Jammu.

A former Pakistan Army soldier-turned-Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen, Ghulam Farid, along with Mohammad Imran and Mohammad Abdullah, were held in a raid on a Jammu hotel just a day before the seventh phase of polling to the State’s legislative Assembly.

Police sources said the three men received orders to report to the Karachi offices of the Jaish in August, 2008. After two days in Karachi, the men flew to Dhaka on legitimate Pakistani passports.

There, the men were received by a local Jaish operative they knew by the code-name ‘Nadeem,’ who claimed to have earlier served in Jammu and Kashmir. On December 15 — just three weeks after last month’s Mumbai terror attacks — the men received orders to cross the Bangladesh-India border near Khulna. After spending the night at a hotel in Kolkata’s Kamarhati neighbourhood, the men caught the Jammu-Tawi express on the night of December 18.

Finally, on December 20, the men checked into Shankar Hotel, near the Jammu railway station.

Police sources in Jammu refused to speculate on who the local aides of the Jaish group might have been.

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