1994 kidnappings of Western tourists in India

1994 kidnappings of Western tourists in India

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The 1994 Kidnappings of Western tourists in India was the abduction of four tourists in New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 on October 20, 1994 by Kashmiri separatists.

Background


A violent insurgency had been going on in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 since 1989. Some kidnappings of foreign tourists had been attempted by Islamists in Kashmir, most notably the attempt to kidnap 7 Israelis in 1991. However, up until this point the separatists had not kidnapped anybody outside of the disputed state.

Three of those kidnapped, Paul Benjamin Ridout, Christopher Myles Croston and Rhys Partridge, were from Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and a fourth, Béla Nuss, was an American from San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

.

Kidnappings


The tourists were all befriended by young British Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is a British-born militant of Pakistani descent with links to various Islamist militant organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Taliban.He was arrested and served time in prison for...

 who was a member of Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat ul-Ansar was an Islamic militant organization founded by Abdelkader Mokhtari in 1993. It was the result of a merger between the groups Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami . Many of its operations were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.Soon after its founding, several members of...

 and pretending to be an Indian by the name of Rohit Sharma. He told them that his uncle had died and left a village for him. He then invited them to visit the village with him. The three Britons were taken to a village near Saharanpur
Saharanpur
Saharanpur is a city and a Municipal Corporation in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It is the administrative headquarters of Saharanpur District as well as Saharanpur Division...

 and kept captive there by his associates. Béla Nuss was the last to be kidnapped and was kept in Ghaziabad just outside Delhi. The kidnappers demanded that the Indian government free 10 militants imprisoned in Kashmir and threatened to behead their captives if the demand was not met.

Rescue


Béla Nuss was freed on October 31 when the police, while investigating a robbery, stumbled on the house where he was being kept captive. After information given to the police by Nuss about other hostages being held, police staked out the house, captured one of the drivers, and interrogation of two Muslims later arrested at the site led them to the village of Saharanpur, where the Britons were being held captive. Omar Sheikh was also captured and wounded when he had returned to the Ghaziabad house to talk to Nuss after being informed that he had stopped eating four days before. Two policemen and a miltant were killed in a pre-dawn shoot-out at the second location on November 1. All the tourists were freed unhurt.

Aftermath


Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is a British-born militant of Pakistani descent with links to various Islamist militant organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Taliban.He was arrested and served time in prison for...

 was incarcerated in Tihar Jail
Tihar Jail
Tihar Prisons , also called Tihar Jail and Tihar Ashram , is the largest complex of prisons in South Asia. It is located at Tihar village, approximately 7 km from Chanakya Puri, to the west of New Delhi, India. The surrounding area is called Hari Nagar.The prison is maintained as a...

 and stayed in prison till December 1999 when he was released in exchange for the passengers aboard hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 24, 1999, when it was hijacked...

. He subsequently went on to murder Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

. He was sentenced to death on July 14, 2002 in Pakistan. Three Pakistani militants belonging to Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat-ul-Ansar
Harkat ul-Ansar was an Islamic militant organization founded by Abdelkader Mokhtari in 1993. It was the result of a merger between the groups Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami . Many of its operations were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.Soon after its founding, several members of...

 were awarded death sentences and 3 others were given life sentences by a Delhi court in April 2002 for their roles in this kidnapping.

External links

  • Profile: Omar Saeed Sheikh, BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

    ,2002-07-16