‘Most wanted’ Hizb militant Javed Ahmed Mattoo arrested from Delhi

NEW DELHI — The Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Hizbul Mujahideen operative Javed Ahmed Mattoo, a native of Sopore in Baramulla district, from the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway, marking the conclusion of a 13-year chase for the ‘A++’ militant.

The classification ‘A++’ is used to refer to a militant who is on the “most wanted” list of security forces.

Addressing a press conference here, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) H.G.S. Dhaliwal said Thursday that Mattoo “was injured in 2012” in an encounter with security forces and had been “lying low since”.

He added that Mattoo was found travelling on the DND in a stolen vehicle and that a pistol was recovered from him at the time of the arrest. The police, said Dhaliwal, had been tracking Mattoo from Delhi’s Nizamuddin. He also said that though Mattoo concealed his identity and was leading a “camouflaged” life, he “maintained contact with his associates”.

In a statement issued later in the day, Delhi Police said Mattoo is the “only surviving A++ category J&K-based militant”, adding that a 9mm pistol and live cartridges were recovered from him. According to the police, they acted on inputs that a militant would be in Delhi-NCR to collect arms on behalf of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

According to the police, the 32-year-old carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh to his name announced by the J&K Police and was involved in at least 11 acts of terror, including grenade attacks and attacks on security forces, in J&K between 2010 and 2012.

Among the cases in which he is a key suspect are five grenade attacks in Sopore in 2010 that injured dozens of police personnel and the killings of five police personnel and a J&K Police CID police constable that same year. Mattoo’s role is also suspected in the killings of two CRPF jawans, the killing of another police personnel, an IED blast outside a police station and a grenade attack outside a BSNL office in Sopore.

“He was the leader of a seven-member Hizbul module. We are probing his role in other militant attacks,” Dhaliwal told reporters Thursday.

Other suspected members of the module have been identified as Sopore residents Abdul Majid Jarger, Abdul Qayyum Nazar, Imtiyaz Kundu, Mehraj Halwai and Waseem Guru, and Handwara resident Tarik Ahmed Lone. Nazar, Halwai and Guru were killed in exchange of fire with security forces, while Lone reportedly drowned after jumping into a river to evade capture. Jarger and Kundu, meanwhile, are suspected to be in Pakistan. — (Agencies)