B’lore Police arrest 11 men planning attacks in the city
Those arrested were reportedly HUJI activists trained to carry out assassination bids on politicians and well-known mediapersons
Karnataka Police on Thursday 30 August claimed that the 11 arrested on terror charges, which include a DRDO engineer and a Deccan Herald journalist, were activists of Pakistan-based Harkat Ul Jehad E Islami (HUJI) and Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) and were planning to carry out attacks on various important legislators, leaders of Hindutva organisations and noted journalists.
Addressing media persons, DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau said that the Central Crime Branch of the Bangalore police arrested them after monitoring them for the past two months, and found incriminating evidence against them.
According to Pachau, the accused, based on the directions of their handlers in Saudi Arabia, were planning to assassinate Member of Legislative Assemblies, Member of Parliaments, leaders of Hindutva organisations and several noted columnists of the local media. “When they were just about to carry out their sinister plan, the CCB of Bangalore swiftly arrested them—avoiding a major catastrophe,” said Pachau. The DGP also clarified that, contrary to media reports, the Uttar Pradesh Police had no role in the arrests.
The commissioner of police Jyothi Prakash Mirji said that a 7.6mm bore pistol with seven live rounds were also confiscated from one of the accused. Other incriminating materials were recovered from their laptops, he said.
A case has been registered against the 11 accused at Basaveshwaranagara police station, and all the 11 have been charged under sections 120(B)—punishment for criminal conspiracy, 153(A)—promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, 307—attempt to murder, 379—Unlawful Activities of Prevention Act, and the Arms Act. They were part of the international terror network and had planned to set up a local chapter, said Mirji.
The 11 arrested are Muthiur Rehman Siddque (26) an education correspondent for Deccan Herald English daily, Riyaz Ahmed Baihatti (28) a BCA graduate and salesman; Mohammed Yusuf Nalabund (28) also a salesman; Aijaz Ahmed Mirza (25)a software engineer at DRDO and Shoaib Ahmed Mirza alias Chotu (25) an MCA student, Obeidullah Imran Bahadur alias Sameer alias Imran(24), Mohammed Sadiq Lashkar alias Raju (28), Baba alias Mehaboob Bagalkote (26), Abdulla Alias Abdul Hakim Jamadar(25), Dr. Zafar Iqbal Sholapur (27), Wahid Hussein alias Sahil (26).
While the police said that they have found incriminating evidence against the accused, they refused to divulge what specific inputs they have found against journalist Muthi-ur-Rehman Siddique. Mirji said, investigations are on and they have valid inputs; but can’t divulge anything at the moment.
Siddque’s brother Ataur Rehman Siddique, however, claims that his brother is innocent. The 26-year-old journalist was living in JC Nagar area of Bangalore for the past five years and started his journalism career with the Urdu daily Salar, then moving on to Rashtriya Sahara, and finally ending up at Deccan Herald in 2009 as a reporter. His colleagues at the Deccan Herald informed that initially he was just a trainee reporter, and then later shifted to crime beat and finally was covering education beat for the past two years. “He was a crime reporter, he knew the police brass and is well known among the journalist circle. We want the police to thoroughly investigate this case, but we believe that he is innocent,” said Ataur Rehman. Siddique for a brief period was also Public Relations Secretary of Students Islamic Organization of India. Responding to allegations of the police, he said his brother was not a member of any of the banned organisations and neither was he involved in any subversive activity.
Similarly, AM Mirza, father of software engineers Aijaz and Shoaib Mirza, a senior technician at state railway department said that his sons are innocent and have been wrongly accused. “It’s been 36 hours since my sons have been arrested, and I have been kept in the dark by the local police. When I read papers then only I came to know of his arrest. The police should bring out the facts of the case,” he said. When Mr Mirza tried to meet DGP Pachau refused.
Imran Khan is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.