Anti-Semitic British Moslem Student 'Masterminded' Delhi Kidnap (fwd)
This is from soc.culture.indian.
Posted by: S Pavithran.
November 6, 1994, Sunday
SECTION: Pg. 2
LENGTH: 465 words
HEADLINE: LSE student 'masterminded' India kidnap
BYLINE: by Amit Roy
A LONDON student has been accused of "masterminding" the kidnapping of three
British tourists in India rescued last week by police. Ahmed Omar Saeed
Sheikh, 20, who is studying at the London School of Economics, was captured last
week in a village near Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh after police rescued an
American, Bela Joseph Nuss, who had also been taken hostage. Mr Sheikh was
wounded during the rescue operation. A. K. Jain, Ghaziabad's senior
superintendent of police, alleged that Mr Sheikh had entered India using the
false Hindu name, Rohit Sharma, and had also planned and executed the
kidnapping of the Britons - Myles Croston, 28, Paul Ridout, 26 and Rhys
Partridge, 27. The Britons were freed after an armed battle with Indian police.
Mr Jain described Mr Sheikh as "a trained militant, a terrorist". Yesterday a
fellow student said Mr Sheikh had tried to recruit Muslims at the LSE for
training in combat with the Afghan Mujaheddin. Mr Sheikh, who told friends he
had fought "for Islam" in Bosnia and in Kashmir, said he wanted British Muslims
to be ready for the religious conflict he was sure would also occur one day in
Mr Sheikh's family in London expressed pride in his actions. His
brother Awais, 16, said: "We were shocked when we heard the news about the
kidnapping. It came as a big shock. It is the first time he has been involved
in anything militant. We regret his action. It was drastic and we wish it had
never happened. "I am disappointed because he was a brilliant student. He gave
that up to better the situation in Kashmir but I am proud of the sacrifice."The
LSE, situated opposite the Indian High Commission and where Mr Sheikh registered
to study statistics and mathematics in October, 1992, has launched an inquiry.
According to LSE records, Mr Sheikh's fees were being paid by the London Borough
of Redbridge. He registered for his course in October 1993, but failed to turn
up at the start of the current academic year. Many British universities are
currently the target of recruiting campaigns by Islamic fundamentalist groups,
among them the Hizb-ut-Tahrir. But Mr Sheikh operated alone. Mr Sheikh, whose
grandfather lived in Lahore, later became part of a group which believed, like
the Hezbollah in Beirut, that taking British, French and American hostages
would focus Western attention on Kashmir. Whitehall said last night that British
intelligence will now monitor the activities of Kashmiri militant groups in
Britain more closely. According to the LSE student, Mr Sheikh was an "idealist"
who dropped out of his course last year. When Mr Sheikh returned from a period
of absence "he was dressed like a Mujaheddin with an Afghan hat and had a dark
beard." The Foreign Office has informed Mr Sheikh's father of his son's arrest.
Agence France Presse
November 05, 1994 10:33 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 1374 words
HEADLINE: Mastermind of kidnappings British: Indian police
DATELINE: NEW DELHI, Nov 5
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (AFP) - The man who planned the abduction of three Britons
and an American to barter the release of 10 jailed Moslem rebels is a
university-educated Briton of Kashmiri origin, the Indian police said Saturday.
Ahmed Umer Syed Sheikh, a Moslem arrested in the northern state of Uttar
Pradesh, was a British national who came to India from Pakistan, a senior
police officer in the Uttar Pradesh town of Ghaziabad told AFP by telephone.
Sheikh "is a student of the London School of Economics," Ghaziabad Senior
Superintendent of Police A.K. Jain said, adding that he was born in London.
"He is a trained militant, a terrorist," he said. "He came from Pakistan and
there is a Pakistani link," he said. Relations between India and Pakistan have
long been strained and both countries regularly accuse the other of sending
subversives into the country.
Another police official in New Delhi said Sheikh speaks several languages
including French, English, Hindi, Urdu and Pushtu.
Jain said Sheikh was caught after being wounded by the police at a village
about seven kilometers (4.3 miles) from Ghaziabad soon after the police rescued
the American hostage, Bela Joseph Nuss, on October 31.
Jain said Sheikh adopted the Hindu alias of Rohit Sharma and had planned and
helped to carry out all four kidnappings.
The three British tourists, who were rescued after police stormed a hideout
in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on November 1, had said they were abducted in New
Delhi by Sheikh who offered them hospitality at his ancestral village.
Two policemen and a kidnapper were killed in an hour-long gunbattle which
followed the storming. The three Britons were freed unharmed but at least three
other militants escaped.
A previously unheard of Kashmiri militant group called Al-Hadid (The Blade)
claimed responsiblity for the abductions and demanded the release of 10
Kashmiri guerrillas, including three members of the powerful Harkat-ul-Ansar.
Meanwhile, the Press Trust of India Saturday quoted the three British
hostages as saying that Sheikh was a tough captor who "delighted in talking
about killing people."
"He said he had arm-wrestled for England and showed us his techniques,"
Paul Rideout and Christopher Miles Croston said. "He was reading Mein Kampf
(Hitler'sautobiography) and hated Jews in particular."
Rhys Partridge, Sheikh's third British victim, said Sheikh spoke frequently
about the northern state of Kashmir, disputed by India and Pakistan and also
Police said the London-based garment merchant's son had said during
interrogation that he had been disturbed by the ethnic strife in Bosnia and had
worked in Croatia during 1993 for a relief organisation called "The Convoy of
The Ghaziabad police have also arrested an Indian Moslem who had driven the
four from New Delhi to Uttar Pradesh and a suspected Afghan from the house where
Nuss was found after his kidnapping in New Delhi on October 20.
New Delhi police also arrested a suspected Pakistani and linked him to Nuss'
abduction. The New Delhi police commissioner identified him as Saifullah Khan
and said he was trained in guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan.
Jain said the Uttar Pradesh police were looking for the three men who escaped
in Saharanpur, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of New Delhi.
"We are raiding a lot of places," Jain said. He refused to give further
Kashmiri Moslem militants battling to end Indian rule over Kashmir have
staged frequent kidnappings in the Himalayan state but they denied involvement
in the latest abductions.
Some accused New Delhi of staging the abductions to gain international
sympathy and discredit the Kashmiri's cause.
Press Association Newsfile
November 5, 1994, Saturday
SECTION: HOME NEWS
LENGTH: 748 words
HEADLINE: LSE STUDENT HELD OVER INDIA KIDNAP OF BRITONS
BYLINE: Shenai Raif, PA News
A student who had a "brilliant" career at the London School of Economics was
under arrest tonight in connection with the kidnapping of three Britons and an
American in India. The Foreign Office confirmed that British citizen Sayed
Sheikh, 20, from Wanstead, east London, was being held by the Indian
authorities. And later his family in east London said that they were proud of
his actions. Sheikh's 16-year-old brother, Awais,told BBC TV News: "Obviously I
am disappointed because he was a brilliant student at the LSE.He gave that upto
better the situation in Kashmir - however, I am proud of the sacrifice."
Later, Awais said at his home: "He had a brilliant future but he could not live
in comfort while people were suffering in Bosnia and Kashmir.He wanted to bring
their plight to people's attention. "He was involved in arranging convoys to
Bosnia and then went on a tour of India and Kashmir, trying to make business
arrangements to do with the family textile business. "We were shocked when we
heard the news about the kidnapping. It came as a big shock. It is the first
time he has been involved in anything militant. "We regret his action. It was
drastic and we wish it had never happened but we can understand his purpose to
bring Western attention to the Kashmiris' plight. "We have been told that he
has been visited by the British consul but he is not being allowed other
visitors." Indian police said Sheikh, whose sister is reported to be a student
at Oxford University, crossed from Pakistan into Kashmir in July. The three
Britons who were kidnapped - Myles Croston, 28, Paul Ridout, 26, and Rhys
Partridge, 27 - were freed on Tuesday during a shoot-out in which a kidnapper
and two policemen were killed, after 10 days in captivity. Three kidnappers,
members of the Campaign for Kashmiri Independence from India, fled but a
fourth was arrested. A man named as Mohammed Khan, a Pakistani, appeared in
court on Wednesday in connection with the kidnapping of the Britons and an
American tourist in New Delhi. The three Britons are due to fly home in a few
weeks after helping police with descriptions of their captors. In London, the
LSE said Sheikh's full name was Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who will be 21 on
December 23. Sheikh started his studies in mathematics and statistics in
October 1992 and registered for his second year last year. He may have missed
registering for the current year because of his arrest. A university spokesman
said: "He is not currently registered with us." The freed Britons have told
reporters in India that one of their captors, who called himself "Sharma",
said he was a student of politics at the LSE. The three said he clearly knew
London well and had told them he was in India because an uncle had died,
leaving him a village. On the second or third meeting in an area of Delhi
packed with cheap hotels for young travellers, "Sharma" invited Mr Ridout and
Mr Croston to visit the village with him for a few days."Sharma" told them that
Mr Partridge had enjoyed it so much he had extended a planned two-day trip to
four. "It seemed like a great opportunity to see some real Indian life," said
Mr Croston. But when they arrived at a house in Saharanpur, 90 miles north of
Delhi, they were held at gunpoint and tethered to a stake with chains along
with Mr Partridge.
The Sheikh family later issued a statement urging action by the Foreign
Office. The statement said: "We would like to make a formal plea to the Foreign
Office that they should fully involve themselves in the matter and offer maximum
help and support to Omar in India. " The family added that officials had told
them they would have to appoint their own lawyer and claimed the Foreign Office
was not doing enough to help Sayed Sheikh. A Foreign Office spokesman said
officials were doing all they could but had so far been denied access to him
by the Indian authorities. He said they would continue to press for "constant
contact" with Mr Sheikh and would speak to him as soon as they were allowed.
But he added: "We don't even know if he has been formally charged yet." Foreign
office policy in such matters was to offer advice to the Briton concerned, along
with a list of lawyers "with the necessary knowledge of local law", the
spokesman explained. He added: "Any British citizen would be given advice as to
their rights and we would make sure that their health was good and that they
were being looked after properly."