Two Hizbul Mujahideen operatives held, were in Delhi to procure weapons

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Two Hizbul Mujahideen operatives held, were in Delhi to procure weaponsNEW DELHI: The special cell of Delhi Police has apprehended two alleged Hizbul Mujahideen operatives. One of the suspects has been identified as Kifayatullah Bukhari (30), the Man Friday of J&K cop-turned-Hizbul commander, Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu. The other suspect is a minor.

DCP (special cell) Pramod Kushwaha confirmed Bukhari’s arrest, but said further investigation was under way. According to Kushwaha, Bukhari is a resident of Pora Bara village in Shopian district of Kashmir. The two were apprehended after a team led by ACPs Lalit Mohan Negi and Hriday Bhushan received inputs about their movements. The teenager was produced before the juvenile justice board.

The operation has led to a major revelation: J&K-based outfits are procuring weapons from gunrunners based in Delhi and neighbouring states as there has been a shortage of small arms used in target killings. The operatives travel to Delhi in a bus and carry only one or two pistols and their magazines back to the valley. Minimal number of weapons are taken back to avoid police detection. Bukhari, sources said, came under the radar when he came to Delhi to procure weapons last week.

This modus operandi had surfaced earlier when the cell arrested two militant of ISIS-JK — Parvaiz Rashid Lone and Jamsheed Zahoor Paul. The two were nabbed near Red Fort in central Delhi. The cell also nabbed three militants of the same module — Tahir, Haris and Asif — with grenades and weapons by tracking their supplier, sources said. Now, the special cell teams are trailing Naveed who may be hiding in Shopian. The police said that during this operation, an underground hideout, which could accommodate 4-5 militants at a time, was also found in J&K and destroyed.

This hideout was created by Naveed himself, Bukhari revealed. Sources said the police team comprising inspectors Sunil Rajain and Inspector Ravinder Joshi had come close to nabbing Naveed, but he managed to give them a slip.

A resident of Nazneenpora of Shopian district, Naveed joined J&K police in 2012 as a constable. In 2017, he was deployed as a guard at a Food Corporation of India Facility at Chandpora in Budgam district when he fled with four self-loading rifles from the guard room. He later pledged allegiance to Hizbul Mujahideen.