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LeT asks India to hand over Advani
Published on 6 Dec. 2008 1:38 AM IST
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In response to India’s demand for extradition of mobster Dawood Ibrahim, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, some Pakistani politicians as well as the religious wing of the banned LeT have said New Delhi should hand over certain “absconders” wanted in criminal cases, including former deputy prime minister LK Advani in return. The issue was raised in a meeting called by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Tuesday to discuss the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and Indian allegations of Pakistanis’ involvement in the carnage. While a majority of participants of the meeting pleaded for peace with India and adopting diplomatic channels to calm down the anger, “a couple of them suggested to take tough stand instead of an apologetic attitude”, a participant of the meeting said. Meanwhile, a statement posted on website of Jamaatul Dawah, a religious wing of the LeT said: “It will be entirely in accordance with international legal standards, as well as in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan to demand the extradition of LK Advani and other Hindu terrorists.” The statement said that Saeed is a religious leader who has never, “at any time, advocated or supported the use of terrorism, nor is he a proponent of clandestine activities of any kind.” Saeed has never been convicted of any crime; neither in Pakistan, nor in any other country of the world, said the statement bearing the name of Jamaat spokesman Yahya Mujahid. This is for the second time since 2001 that the issue of Advani’s extradition is being raised in tit-for-tat response to India’s demand for handing over of Dawood, Saeed and Masood Azhar. An interior ministry official said that according to the police record in Karachi, Advani is among 12 persons declared as “absconders” in a case registered for an attempt to assassinate Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other top Pakistani leaders in 1947. The official said that a FIR number 4/47, registered Sept 10, 1947 by then station house officer of Jamshed Quarters police station, Inspector Tooti Ram charged 18 people, including Advani, with hatching a criminal conspiracy to assassinate the then governor-general Jinnah, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin and other top leaders. Six Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists were nabbed in the case, sentenced and extradited to India a year later following an agreement between the two countries. However, when contacted, officials of the prime minister’s secretariat and foreign office declined to comment. “There are more important issues which Pakistan is taking up with India,” said the foreign office official. ULFA explosives expert killed GUWAHATI, DEC 5 (IANS): A ‘most wanted’ terrorist and a frontline explosives expert of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was killed by security forces in Assam Friday, officials said. Tapan Rai was gunned down by a joint team of army and Assam police commandos near village Belguri in Kokrajhar district, around 250 km west of here. “Based on specific inputs, a joint army and police team challenged Rai and was later killed after a brief encounter,” army spokesperson Col R. Kalia said. “Tapan Rai was a dreaded ULFA militant and one of the key explosives experts of the outfit’s 709 battalion who was involved in a number of violent strikes in the state.” Security forces recovered an AK-81 assault rifle, ammunition, besides photographs and documents relating to the ULFA. Rai’s family members said he was lured into the outfit way back in 1990. “My son was lured by some ULFA leaders and we haven’t met him since 1992. He was involved in operations of the ULFA in western Assam,” Tapan’s father Mineswar Rai said. The ULFA had received a major setback in June when two of its potent striking units, the A and C companies of the 28th battalion entered into a ceasefire with the government. The 709 and the 29th battalion of the ULFA, besides the Bravo Company of the 28th battalion, are now active. Assam combating terror with World War I firearms GUWAHATI, DEC 5 (IANS): The wave of terror bombings in Assam has exposed how poorly equipped the state police force is - with World War I era firearms, defective bulletproof vests and insufficient numbers - to deal with heavily armed terrorists, say experts. While 10 terrorists held Mumbai to ransom for more than 60 hours last week, another band of militants in Assam wreaked havoc on Oct 30, triggering serial explosions killing 95 people and wounding 300. This is the new face of terror - heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, explosives, and modern gadgets. But, compared to the terrorists, police are almost defenceless. “This is a pathetic situation where terrorists use the most advanced weapons, while our police force continues to fight with .303 rifles similar to the Lee Enfield weapons used by the British troops during World War I,” former Assam police chief Nishinath Changkakoty told IANS. Even today, police in Assam wear plastic helmets and body protectors designed for sticks and stones, rather than bullets as they fight terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles, pistols, grenades and RDX. “We need to arm our policemen with the latest AK-series assault rifles to combat terrorists, especially in view of the growing urban terror attacks seen in Assam and other places,” Changkakoty said. The abysmal state of police equipment and lack of training helps to explain how terrorists managed to target Assam on Oct 30 and, more recently, on Tuesday when they bombed a train in eastern Assam’s Diphu railway station killing three people and wounding 30 more. Apart from equipping the police force with modern weapons and protective clothing, there is also need for imparting training on handling and identifying explosives. “Militants here in Assam are now using all forms of explosives like RDX, besides using sophisticated devices to trigger blasts. There is definitely a need for the Assam police to get specialised trainings on explosives,” Padmapani, joint director of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Guwahati, said. “FSL is the only facility in the northeast to deal with explosives, but our strength remains the same since its inception in 1985.” As part of an initiative to train Assam police and other security agencies on how best to tackle the new face of terror, the FSL had last month set up an Explosives Museum. “The idea of the museum is to enable security agencies to identity various types of explosives and how the militants use them,” Padmapani said. The Assam government, meanwhile, has decided to revamp the 50,000 strong police force. “We have to modernise and revamp the police force, besides recruiting additional men to meet the new challenges. Imparting advanced training is also on the cards,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

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