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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 18:00 GMT
India hands over 'most wanted' list
An Indian soldier guards missiles near the country's border with Pakistan
India says handing over of those named will defuse tension
By the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in London

India has given Pakistan a list of what it says are its most wanted terrorists.

The Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, said that handing them over to the Pakistani authorities would cause what he called "a conducive atmosphere" to thrive between the two countries.

India has already expressed satisfaction that Pakistan has started rounding up members of the more violent Kashmiri groups, but it wants more.

The list it has now given to the government in Islamabad includes senior members of four groups involved in the struggle in Kashmir - Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Officials did not make public the names of those involved but said that they would include the five men accused of hijacking an Indian Airlines plane two years ago.

Indian list

The plane ended up in Kandahar in Afghanistan and India was forced to hand over three detained Islamist militants in exchange for the passengers and crew.

Maulana Masood Azhar
Masood Azhar was among the militants freed by India

One of them was the Jaish-e-Mohammad leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, who was arrested in Pakistan last week.

But the Indian list is not limited to Kashmiri activists, or even to Muslims.

Indian officials said they had included one of the leaders of the Sikh separatist movement, the Khalistan Liberation Front, and the Bombay gangsters accused of having been behind a series of bomb blasts in the city in 1993.

Gangland leader Dawood Ibrahim was blamed for that attack, when a car bomb was set off in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange building.

The same technique as was used against the American Embassy in Nairobi, and in the first attack on the World Trade Centre.

The Indian authorities are convinced that all these men have found refuge in Pakistan.

The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports from Islamabad
"Pakistan's president is trying to defuse the tension"
See also:

30 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges India-Pakistan restraint
28 Dec 01 | Media reports
Press urges calm as tensions rise
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistanis 'could be stuck in India'
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
India-Pakistan buses close down
26 Dec 01 | South Asia
US adds pressure on Pakistan
24 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militant funds
29 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taj Mahal 'to be camouflaged'
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