The family of Mehraj-ud-Din, who is believed to have a role in the 1999 hijacking of an Indian plane, on Thursday claimed he would frequently visit home in north Kashmir’s Sopore district.
“Last time he visited Sopore was in the autumn of 2010. He (Din) stayed with us for some time,” said Abdul Rashid, elder brother of Din, who was arrested in Jammu on Thursday.
Din, a resident of Sopore's Krankshivan Colony, 55 km north of Srinagar, was first arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in 1992 for “subversive activities” and was later released in 1995.
“On the insistence of the family, Din left for Nepal,” said Rashid.
The family claims Din married in Nepal and has a 12-year-old daughter there from a Hindu wife. “Din is running a small shop in Nepal,” said Rashid.
Since 1995, when he established his business, Din visited his Sopore village a number of times, according to the elder brother.
Din, according to the family, underwent a surgery recently for tumour. “He (Din) was not feeling well for the past few weeks. I asked him to return to Kashmir. He agreed and it was usual for us,” said Rashid.
When Din arrived in Jammu on Sunday, he called his family in Sopore. “We waited for two days. Finally, we called on the driver’s mobile number and he informed us that Din was arrested on the Jammu-Srinagar highway by the Katra police,” said Rashid.
The police had checked identity cards of all the passengers. While the vehicle was allowed to move, Din was arrested on the spot.
The police claim Din is a militant commander and provided logistics to the militants involved in the hijacking of IC-814 plane in December, 1999. The hijack drama ended with the releases of three militant commanders in Afghanistan.