Weekend shootout raises many questions

September 23rd, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) The killing of two suspected terrorists in a shootout in Jamia Nagar here Friday has a sceptical public questioning some of the claims of the Delhi Police, including whether those shot or arrested indeed belong to the Indian Mujahideen, a shadowy group blamed for a succession of bombings across Indian cities this year. IANS pieced together some of the questions and the police answers to them:

Q. If the mastermind Atif alias Basheer who was gunned down was indeed behind all the recent bombings, where are his other associates?

Delhi Police investigators say they are not sure whether Atif Ameen, 24, killed in the shootout was the only leader of the shadowy Indian Mujahideen. He was one of the architects of the Delhi blasts and believe there are six other members who are on the run and wanted in the blasts.

Q. Police have been giving elaborate details of the travel plans of the module and how they went about planting bombs in various cities. Why don’t we see proof to substantiate the facts?

Evidence on this count is still being gathered. Investigators say this information is confidential and cannot be disclosed at this stage as it might hamper the probe. Officials say all evidence would be presented before the designate court.

Q. Why did the alleged three Indian Mujahideen members - Zia-ur-Rehman, Saquib Nassir and Mohammed Shakil - not flee Jamia Nagar if they were involved in the conspiracy? Why did they stay put after the shootout? In normal circumstances, if they were guilty, they would have made good their escape.

Their leader Atif convinced them to some extent that nothing would happen to them if they continued behaving normally and maintained their daily regular schedule. Atif also ensured them they would be well “taken care of” in the event of their arrest.

Q. Was an autopsy done on Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma? What did it say?

A formal autopsy report is still awaited but the doctors say that Sharma could have died because of heart attack. No bullet was lodged in his body.

Q. When did Indian Mujahideen and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) join hands?

The Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) did the ground work in bringing together SIMI leader Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Taqueer and the Indian Mujahideen chief Atif Ameen. LeT was directed by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence to see that both got together.

Q. How did the other suspected terrorists escape from the Jamia Nagar house? The entire area was secured by the police and a tight security ring was thrown around the place before the operation.

There was rapid gunfire and we had little time to react. It was really heavy gunfire and we could not gauge the situation properly. They probably realised that and in the short confusion that followed they fled.

Q. Jamia Nagar residents claim that almost 50 people are still being detained for questioning. Is this right?

Officials admit that some people were detained from Jamia Nagar for questioning related to Delhi blasts probe but refused to give the number. After verifying their antecedents and perfunctory questioning they have been let off.

Q. What happen to the key eyewitnesses who helped the police in preparing the sketches of those who planted the bombs in various parts of Delhi?

Two eyewitnesses have returned to their home towns. A 10-year-old rag picker is still under police protection.

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