The Jammu and Kashmir government has decried the arrest of Sayyed Liyaqat Shah and claimed that he was on his way back to the state to surrender before the authorities when he was wrongly picked up from Uttar Pradesh.
The Delhi Police who nabbed Liyaqat Shah as soon as he reached Gorakhpur on Mar 20 are not entirely convinced by the arguments put forth by their counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir.
Since a large cache of arms and ammunition was seized during a raid at the Arafat guest house in Jama Masjid area of the Old City, Delhi Police are sure that Liyaqat Shah was part of a Hizbul plan to carry out suicide attacks at two shopping malls and crowded marketplaces in the national capital around the time the nation celebrates the 'Festival of Colours'.
On Sunday, investigators released the sketch of a suspect who surprisingly left behind three hand grenades, an AK-56 rifle and two magazines containing 30 catridges each at the Arafat guest house.
Reports say Liyaqat Shah revealed during his interrogation that Pakistan-based terror masterminds entrusted him the task of conducting a recce of the markets in Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh as well as India Gate. All these places were to be targeted by 'fidayeen' squads of the Hizbul Mujahideen on the festive occasion of Holi.
Nevertheless, police officials in Jammu and Kashmir maintained that Liyaqat Shah was returning from Pakistan under the rehabilitation policy of the state government. "We knew about Shah's return. He is not an active militant. He was returning home with his wife and his 19-year-old daughter," they said.
On their part, Delhi Police noted that Liyaqat Shah had a fake passport in his possession. If this is correct, the pertinent point is why a 'reformed militant' who was till recently working in Pakistan tried to sneak across the Indo-Nepal border instead of simply crossing the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir?