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Azhar stayed in Ashok, Janpath hotels in Delhi, visited Deoband, Lucknow in 1994

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A hotel in Delhi's posh area, which houses the diplomatic enclave, was the first stop of Masood Azhar, the of Jaish-e-Mohammad, when he first arrived in in January 1994 and dodged immigration officials' queries about his Portugese passport by claiming he was a "Gujarati by birth".

The Pakistan-based terrorist, who was arrested in within the next two weeks, had also stayed in capital's and visited Lucknow, Shahranpur and Islamic seminary Darul-uloom Deoband, according to his interrogation report.

Azhar, whose JeM was responsible for a series of terror strikes in including the attack on Parliament in 2001 and a CRPF convoy in Pulwama last month, had arrived in on a fake Portuguese passport after visiting

"I spent two days in and thereafter travelled to by Airlines (Biman), reaching the 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 in where I stayed," according to the interrogation report available with the security agencies here.

During the night, told his interrogators, that he rang one Ashraf Dar, a Kashmiri, who came to the along with Abu Mehmood, a

"I expressed my desired to visit Deoband to pay obeisance at the graves of Deobandi intellectuals. As such escorted me in his Maruti car, accompanied by 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, 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 by the same car after staying overnight at Khan Ji of Maulana Masir-ul-ullah Khan at Jalalabad.

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

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

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

"In Delhi, on February 8, 1994, I visited the 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 valley," he told the interrogators.

After his arrival in on February 9, 1994, 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 of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, who was armed.

Next morning, on February 10, he was escorted by Afghani to a place called Matigund where all Pakistan/PoK terrorists gathered.

"They (the terrorists) were happy about my visit and merger of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul- I had taken their addresses and letters so that I can communicate their welfare to their families on return to Pakistan," he told the interrogators.

While returning from Matigund, accompanied by Afghani and one Farooq, a militant of Matigund area, who was armed and had a wireless set, the car developed some trouble and stopped.

Then Azhar and his accomplice boarded a three-wheeler and proceeded to Anantnag. After travelling for about 2-3 km, the auto rickshaw was stopped by the personnel, according to the report.

"Farooq started running and opened fire which was returned by the men. Farooq managed to escape but I along with Afghani was arrested," he told the interrogators.

Azhar was freed from an Indian prison in 1999 along with two other terrorists in exchange for passengers of an aircraft which was hijacked and taken to in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 19:20 IST