Srinagar: In a breakthrough in the Lal Chowk
terror strike, police have arrested two persons who had
allegedly provided SIM cards to two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants
who killed two persons during the 22-hour siege.
Highly-placed sources said that duo -- Latif Malla and
Imtiyaz Ahmed -- had procured the SIM cards for the two
Lashkar terrorists Saifullah Qari and Usman, who were killed
after security forces on January 7 stormed a hotel in which
they were holed up.
Malla and Ahmed were picked up and subjected to detailed
questioning, after which they told the police how they had
procured the SIM cards and when the cards were handed over to
the Lashkar militants.
The duo told the police that they had procured 120 SIM
cards and handed these over to the militants during a period
before the ban on pre-paid mobile phones was ordered, the
All the SIMs were supplied to one Javed of Sopore in
North Kashmir for which they got money, the duo said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Farooq
Ahmed, who has to his credit the successful operation at Lal
Chowk, has formed several crack teams to trace Javed, they
The terrorists killed during the Lal Chowk encounter had
kept the mobile connections with them for a long period and
these were meant for use only during "operations".
Though the government had imposed a ban on issuance of
fresh pre-paid mobile cards from November 1 last year, the
existing subscribers have been asked to convert it to
post-paid by January 29 this year, failing which the services
will be stopped.
The police personnel were told about the mobile phone
number by central security agencies and during a quick check
it was found that the person in whose name the connections had
been taken did not exist, official sources said.
Qari, a resident of Baluchistan, was in constant touch
with his handlers in Zafarwal in Pakistan, the sources said.
The sources said though the terrorist was constantly in
touch with militants of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen identified as
Saifullah, Qazi, Junaid and Tahir, it was beyond doubt that
the operation was carried out by LeT only.
Once he felt that he was cornered and could be eliminated
by security forces, Qari reportedly had a long chat with his
handlers in Pakistan and dictated his will as well, the