Home Terrorism Red Fort Attack Case: SC Upholds Md Arif’s Death Sentence, Dismisses Review Petition

Red Fort Attack Case: SC Upholds Md Arif’s Death Sentence, Dismisses Review Petition

The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition of Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq in connection with the 2000 Red fort attack case.

by News Desk
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition of Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq challenging the top court’s earlier order, upholding the death sentence awarded to him in connection with the 2000 Red fort attack case, news agency ANI reported.

Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and Pakistani national Arif was awarded a death sentence by the Supreme Court in 2011. Three people, including two Army jawans, were killed in the 2000 Red Fort attack.

Red Fort Attack

On December 22, 2000, two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants began firing indiscriminately and gunned down two army jawans belonging to the 7th Rajputana Rifles and a civilian security guard. The assailants received returning fire from the Quick Reaction Team of the battalion but they managed to escape the Red Fort by scaling over the boundary wall on the rear side of the complex.

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Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, took responsibility for the attacks.

At that time, the then Defence Minister George Fernandes said the Red Fort was not a high-security area and army battalions present inside were on a peace posting. According to a December 2000 report by news agency PTI, Fernandes had said that anybody can sneak into the Red Fort from the Yamuna riverside as the boundary wall was very low. In fact, militants used that side to escape after killing three men on the premises, he mentioned.

The attack happened at a time when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government enforced a unilateral ceasefire at the India-Pakistan border in a move to improve tense relations between the two nations. Fernandes had denied that the ceasefire had led to the collapse of the internal security system and said people misunderstood the meaning of ceasefire, according to the PTI report.

Mohammad Arif’s Death Sentence Upheld

Notably, LeT terrorist Bilal Ahmed Kawa accused of planning and funding the terror attack was arrested in a joint operation by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police and the Gujarat ATS from Delhi Airport on January 10, 2018, 17 years after the attack.

He was remanded to a Police Special Cell in Delhi for further probing. He was arrested on the basis of a tip-off received by Gujarat ATS regarding his movement from Srinagar to Delhi.

While Kawa was on the run, a trial court in October 2005, awarded death sentence to Pakistan-based LeT terrorist Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq. Two key conspirators — Nazir Ahmed Qasid and his son Farooq Ahmed Qasid — were awarded life imprisonment.

Additional Sessions Judge O P Saini had also awarded a seven-year jail term to Ashfaq’s wife Rehmana Yousuf Farooqui, an Indian, for giving shelter to the main accused. Other convicts — Bagar Mohsin Baghwala, Sadaqat Ali, and Matloob Alam — were also awarded seven-year rigorous imprisonment.

In September 2007, the Delhi High Court had upheld the death sentence for Ashfaq, saying terrorists who have no value for human lives deserved capital punishment, PTI reported.

The high court, however, acquitted six others, including Farooqui, citing a lack of sufficient evidence against them.

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