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Masood Azhar stayed in a hotel in Delhi’s diplomatic enclave: Indian media

NEW DELHI: Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar stayed in a hotel in Delhi’s posh Chanakyapuri area in the diplomatic enclave when he first arrived in India, NDTV reported.

According to the report, Azhar first arrived in India in January 1994 during which he dodged immigration officials’ queries about his Portugese passport by claiming he was a “Gujarati by birth”.

The report added that Azhar was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir within the next two weeks, who had also stayed in capital’s hotel Janpath and visited Lucknow, Shahranpur and Islamic seminary Darul-uloom Deoband.

Masood Azhar had arrived in India on a fake Portuguese passport after visiting Bangladesh.

“I spent two days in Dhaka and thereafter travelled to Delhi by Bangladesh Airlines (Biman), reaching the IGI Airport in early hours of January 29, 1994. The Immigration officials at IGI commented that I did not look like a Portuguese but when I replied that that I was a Gujarati by birth, he did not hesitate to stamp my passport.

“I hired a taxi and asked (the driver) for a good hotel. I was taken to the Ashok hotel in Chanakyapuri where I stayed,” according to the interrogation report available with the security agencies in New Delhi.

During the night, Azhar told his interrogators, that he rang one Ashraf Dar, a Kashmiri, who came to the Ashok hotel along with Abu Mehmood, a member of of Harakat ul-Ansar.

“I expressed my desired to visit Deoband to pay obeisance at the graves of Deobandi intellectuals. As such Ashraf Dar escorted me in his Maruti car, accompanied by Abu Mehmood to Deoband. We stayed in Darul-uloom Deoband for the night. After offering prayers at Deoband, next morning we went to Gungoh and then proceeded to Saharanpur,” the report said.

At Saharanpur, Azhar stayed for the night at a mosque of Tabliq-ul-Jamat and at none of these places, he had revealed his true identity. On January 31, 1994, he came back to Delhi by the same car after staying overnight at Khan Ji of Maulana Masir-ul-ullah Khan at Jalalabad.

On reaching Delhi, Azhar stayed at hotel Janpath located near Connaught Place. Since his flight to Srinanagr was booked for February 9, he decided to visit one Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi alias Ali Mian at his madrassa in Lucknow.

Accordingly, Azhar went to Lucknow in a bus on February 6 or 7, 1994, where again he did not disclose his identity.

As he could not meet Ali Mian and another person whom he intended to meet, Azhar returned to Delhi by bus. This time, he stayed at hotel Sheesh Mahal in Karol Bagh. In all Delhi hotels, Azhar registered himself in the assumed identity of Portuguese national Vali Adam Issa.

“In Delhi, on February 8, 1994, I visited the Centre of Tablig-ul-Jamat at Nizamuddin but did not meet any particular person. I had also purchased 12 compasses (to give direction of Mecca) from Nizammudin to offer them as gift to militants in the Kashmir valley,” he told the interrogators.

After his arrival in Srinagar on February 9, 1994, Ashraf Dar escorted him to Madrasa Qasmian in Lal Bazar where a room was arranged for him.

Later in the evening a militant, Sajjad Afghani, came to meet him along with his deputy named Amjad Bilal of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, who was armed.