The Red Fort terrorist attack on December 22, 2000 is a “direct attack on the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India”, said a three-judge Bench led by former Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit, in its judgment on November 2022.
It has been 22 years since the attack shook the nation.
Six LeT militants sneaked into Delhi’s Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and opened indiscriminate firing on the guards of the 7th Battalion of Rajputana Rifles, killing three, including a civilian. The army personnel present in the fort retaliated but the militants escaped.
The police identified the deceased as Abdullah Thakur, a civilian sentry, Rifleman Uma Shankar, and Naik Ashok Kumar.
LeT terrorist Bilal Ahmed Kawa planned and executed the terror attack.
Four days after the incident, the Delhi Police Special Cell arrested Pakistani militant Mohammed Arif alias Ashfaq and his wife Rehmana Yousuf Farooqui following an encounter in Southeast Delhi’s Jamia Nagar area. On February 20, 2001, the police filed chargesheet against Ashfaq and 21 others.
On September 11, 2001, a special court began trial against 11 out of 22 accused. Eight accused were declared proclaimed offenders, while three were killed in separate encounters. On December 4, 2002, charges were framed against eleven accused
Ashfaq and two others were found guilty of involvement in the attack in 2005 by the trial court which sentenced him to death. Subsequent appeals in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court had failed.
In a coordinated operation on January 10, 2018, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police and the Gujarat ATS detained LeT terrorist Bilal Ahmed Kawa at the Delhi Airport. Kawa planned and carried out the terrorist strike. Arresting him took 17 years. Remanded to a Delhi Police Special Cell for further investigation, the 37-year-old was arrested. He was detained because Gujarat ATS received a tip about his travels from Srinagar to Delhi, which led to his detention.
For the second occasion, on November 3, 2022, the Supreme Court rejected a request by death row by Ashfaq to reconsider the death penalty he had received in the Red Fort attack case in 2000.
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