Kishtwar: In a major breakthrough, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested a terror suspect, Mehrajuddin Dand alias Javed, who allegedly provided logistical support for the hijacking of IC-814 in 1999. He allegedly provided travel papers to IC-814 hijackers.
NIA officials are expected to go to Jammu and Kashmir to question Mehrajuddin soon. The alleged terrorist, who is linked to various terror activities including blasts across the country, was arrested in the Kishtwar district.
Sources say Mehrajuddin was operating since 1993. He was living in Nepal with a Hindu name and was also married there. He worked for several years for the IC-814 hijack accused Arshad Cheema, who was a Pakistani diplomat based in Kathmandu. According to sources, Mehrajuddin returned to Jammu and Kashmir due to illness.
Mehrajuddin was also allegedly involved in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blasts in Delhi. Police say Mehrajuddin is a close associate of United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Mehrajuddin was one of the first five militants including Salahuddin who crossed over into PoK in 1987 to get arms training. He belongs to militancy affected Sopore town of north Kashmir and was a member of UJC, an umbrella group of several militant outfits.
During interrogation, Mehrajuddin has given details about his relation with Syed Salahuddin and Dawood Ibrahim, who figure in the list of 20 most wanted persons India has given to Pakistan.
Mehrajuddin has worked for almost all militant organisations including Islamic Front, Muslim Mujahiddin, Hizbul Mujahiddin and others.
Mehrajuddin, who used to live in Nepal, had hideouts across India. The Jammu and Kashmir police says Mehrajuddin is the biggest catch in 25 years.
The Indian Airlines plane IC-814 was hijacked on December 24, 1999 by the terrorists when it was near Lucknow. It was taken to Amritsar for fuelling. It was then taken to Kandahar where passengers and crew remained captive for more than eight days.
One person, Rupin Katyal, was killed by the terrorists in the Delhi-bound flight from Kathmandu.
The hijacking ended when the Indian government released three terrorists including Maulana Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh for the safe return of the passengers.
(With additional information from PTI)
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