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June 11, 1999
Azam Ghouri: Andhra's Kargil connection
Shireen in Hyderabad
The Andhra Pradesh police and central intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on the activities of several fundamentalist organisations in the state in the wake of the operations in Kargil .
The intelligence agencies are, however, not too sure about the report that the intruders in Kargil include Azam Ghouri, a top-ranking leader of Lashkar-e-Toiba, who hails from Warangal district.
Ghouri, originally from Hanmajipet in Warangal, left the outlawed People's War Group almost a decade ago after one of his hands was injured in a grenade attack.
Later, he moved to Bombay and subsequently crossed over to Pakistan to join the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
He is reported to have obtained training in the use of explosives from the Taliban militia in Afghanistan.
During the two decades of his militant activities, Ghouri is suspected of involvement in as many as 60 major crimes.
The list is exhaustive.
On August 12, 1993, some miscreants planted bombs with timer devices in the vicinity of Humayun Nagar and Abids police stations in Hyderabad at the behest of Ghouri.
The bombs exploded causing damage to the compound wall of Humayun Nagar police station and injuring the watchman of a shop adjacent to Abids police station.
In another incident on September 12, 1993, a powerful bomb explosion rocked the central reservations complex of Secunderabad railway station, killing two railway officials and seriously injuring another.
On October 22, 1993, a bomb exploded at an educational institute at Nampally, killing a person on the spot and causing injuries to two others.
Similarly, a bomb exploded in the compartment of the Andhra Pradesh Express near Moula Ali on December 6, 1993, killing two persons and injuring 14 others.
All the above incidents are believed to be the handiwork of Ghouri.
The Hyderabad City Police also found links between Ghouri and ISI activists arrested in the city.
On November 13, 1993, Hyderabad City police arrested four persons and recovered a revolver, hand grenades, explosive materials, documents and cash from their possession.
All four allegedly had links with both Ghouri and ISI and were planning subversive activities in the city.
Again, on January 22, 1995, the Hyderabad City Police arrested two city-based youth at Bangalore in Karnataka. They were imparted training in Islamabad by the ISI to undertake disruptive activities in India.
In yet another breakthrough in July 1998, the city police unearthed an ISI plot when they arrested three agents and 13 of their supporters and seized four pistols, 60 cartridges, 18 kilograms of RDX, three VHF man-pack sets and a remote control exploding device from their possession.
Three more persons were arrested in a pre-emptive raid in September 1998. The Pakistani agents, Mohammed Saleem Junaid of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Mohammed Shafiq and Farooq Ahmed, had planned to organise serial bomb blasts in Hyderabad on Ganesh Chathurthi day.
Their interrogation indicated that they were in close touch with Ghouri. The intelligence agencies also suspected that Ghouri had visited Nizamabad clandestinely and held consultations with the PWG.
Ghouri is also said to have tried to spread his operations to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
The activities of the ISI came to the notice of the Andhra Pradesh police almost seven years ago.
It was on November 29, 1992 that three brothers of a family hailing from Sangareddy in Medak district gunned down an additional superintendent of police Krishna Prasad and his gunman Venkateswara Rao in a shoot-out at Brindavan colony in the city.
The brothers, Najeeb Ahmed, Laiq Ahmed and Habeeb Ahmed, were associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen. After a brief stint in Kashmir in 1992, Mujeeb Ahmed returned to Hyderabad and sought to recruit vulnerable youth and organise subversive activities in the state capital.
After the shoot-out incident, Laiq Ahmed was killed in an encounter with the police. Najeeb Ahmed, however, is still absconding.
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