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Salar?s journey from Ratlam to Lucknow via Pakistan

SALIM AKA Salar, the Lashker terrorist who was gunned down by the UP police on Wednesday, is believed to be the militant who was involved in the sensational kidnapping of five foreign nationals by the Al Faran group in Kashmir. The FBI had announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh on him.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 13:53 IST

SALIM AKA Salar, the Lashker terrorist who was gunned down by the UP police on Wednesday, is believed to be the militant who was involved in the sensational kidnapping of five foreign nationals by the Al Faran group in Kashmir. The FBI had announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh on him.

Salim was heading the LeT operations in UP. The man who started off as a paanwallah in Ujjain was an expert at bombs and was probably also involved in the October 29 blasts in Delhi.

The Madhya Pradesh police had registered 16 cases against Salar alias Sallu including 14 in Ratlam alone between 1980 and 1996. The cases ranged from murder to drug trafficking to extortion to robbery.

It was in 1985 that Salar had committed the first murder and was sentenced for life. However, he escaped from the train near Ujjain when being taken for hearing in another case.

After that the Madhya Pradesh police lost track of him. The last case registered against him in MP was in 1996 when a blast occurred at Chambal Colony on the Republic Day in Bhopal.

It was the first blast in MP in which RDX was used. The State police had announced reward of Rs 15,000 on Salar’s head. “Salar had numerous cases of murders and cases under Explosives Act in Gujarat, Rajasthan and UP”, said an intelligence officer.

He allegedly killed three persons in Agra and buried them but the case was not registered. Until his encounter in Lucknow, the MP Police was on his hunt. Salar had been to Pakistan many times. One of his wives is in Ratlam while another is in Gujarat.

The MP police have an old and hazy photograph of Salar. The police claim that his last crime in the State was the blast at Chambal Colony in the capital on Republic Day a decade ago. The officials believe that Salar evaded police successfully for almost two decades because of his ability to easily change his appearance. “He often hoodwinked police by posing as a ‘baba’ and distributing charms and amulets”, said a senior police official.

“Be it a ‘tantrik’ or a fakir, Salar would get into any appearance easily but ultimately he paid for his crimes”, added the officer.

Born in 1962 in Ujjain, Salim moved to Ratlam where he worked at a dargah. A small-time bootlegger, Salim soon became a known name in the liquor mafia. In 1988, Salim along with his two associates Mahesh and Anwar murdered a bootlegger Mangal Singh. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. Salim managed to escape by jumping off a train while being taken to jail.

He then shifted base to Agra where he came in touch with Harkat-ul-Ansar militant Raees Beg. Beg sent Salim to Kashmir where he met Javed, the Anant Nag area commander of Harkat.

Salim took training from Javed and later floated his own outfit — the Alam-e-Tanzeem. Salim used to recruit and provide logistical support to Harkat. Salim rose in the Harkat ranks after he coordinated a series of blasts in Dausa, Agra, Ferozabad and Modinagar in 1994.

He got into the FBI list after the Al Faran kidnapping. He had escaped from the Delhi Police’s custody last year. Salim had several cases, including 10 relating to murder, against him.

According to the police, he was wanted in connection with several bomb blasts in J&K. He was reported to have been active in western Uttar Pradesh from 1990. Salim, the police said, was reporting to LeT’s all-India operations chief Abul Shamas.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 13:53 IST