Two suicide attackers were shot dead Sunday on their way to Delhi to carry out terrorist strikes during Republic Day celebrations, the police said. They were both from Pakistan and heavily armed.
A police team, which had been trailing them, tried to stop them as their car — a stolen Maruti 800 — entered Noida’s sector 97. In the exchange of fire that followed the two men were shot. They died on the way to the hospital.
One of them spoke to the policemen before dying. He told them he was Farooq and came from Okra in Punjab, which is also home to Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Mumbai 26/11 attacker in police custody now.
He also told the police his associate’s name was Abu Ismail and he came from Rawalkote, which is in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
The police said they didn’t know which terrorist outfit they were from.
Minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma said: “It once again underscored the persisting threat that there are individuals, there are organisations, which are targeting India and they are based in Pakistan.”
According to PTI, Sharma said the incident (Noida encounter) was a matter of concern and the government wanted Pakistan to honour its commitments on dismantling the terror infrastructure there.
India has been mounting pressure on Pakistan seeking action against its terror apparatus since the Mumbai attacks in November. And has given it a dossier containing evidence of involvement of Pakistan-based elements.
The Noida terrorists belonged to a group tasked with carrying out strikes during Republic Day celebrations, said Intelligence Bureau sources. Investigators were now looking for more members of this group.
“Anti-terrorist squad officers based in Noida were working on a module of a terrorist outfit for the last one and half months,” said Brij Lal, UP police’s additional director general of police.
“Yesterday (on Saturday), the squad received information that two suspects with AK-47s have been seen in Lal Kuan, Ghaziabad on their way to Delhi,” he said, adding, "that’s when we decided to act”.
The police said they seized two AK 47 assault rifles, four magazines, 120 rounds of ammunition, five hand grenades and nine “RDX rods” from the terrorists. Plus three detonators, a Pakistani passport, and Rs.18,000 cash.
Officials of the squad said the type of arms and explosives seized indicated that the terrorists “had planned to trigger explosions at public places and were prepared to tackle resistance from security forces”.
(Inputs : Rajesh Kumar Singh, Lucknow)