Key plotter in Akshardham attack case nabbed in Kashmir

Gandhinagar: An illuminated Akshardham Mandir on the eve of Diwali in Gandhinagar on Oct 29, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad on Friday arrested what it claimed to be a key conspirator in the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir.

Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that Mohammad Yasin Butt, who is believed to be an operative of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, had escaped to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) after the temple attack.

He was arrested following an intelligence alert that he had returned to Kashmir and was working at a timber warehouse in Anantnag.

As many as 33 persons, including a National Security Guard (NSG) commando, were killed when two terrorists started indiscriminate firing inside the sprawling Akshardham Temple Complex located just a stone’s throw throw from the official residence of the Chief Minister in Gandhinagar on September 24, 2002.

The assailants were gunned down by the commandos of the National Security Guard.

ATS officials said Butt played a vital role in the conspiracy to attack the temple complex and supplied arms and ammunition, including AK 47 rifles, to the assailants who had travelled to Ahmedabad by a train from Uttar Pradesh.

The ATS team brought Butt to Ahmedabad on Friday evening after obtaining a transit remand from a court in Jammu and Kashmir.

In May 2014, the Supreme Court had acquitted six persons convicted earlier in the case and three of them were facing death sentence.