LUCKNOW: The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh Police on Sunday claimed to have busted a module of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, said to be an auxiliary unit of Al Qaeda, with the arrest of two operatives. The two were planning a series of blasts in Uttar Pradesh around Independence Day, the ATS claimed.
While the sleuths arrested Minaz Ahmad, 32, from a house in Kakori outskirts of Lucknow, his associate Masiruddin, 50, alias Mushir was picked from his house in Madioan at the former’s instance.
An improvised explosive device (IED) in the form of a pressure cooker bomb along with a 9mm countrymade pistol was recovered from Minaz’s house.
According to the investigators, the two accused were in touch with Umar Halmandi, a listed Al-Qaeda operative based somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. On Umar’s directions, the duo was planning blasts in the state.
Umar is said to be handling Al-Qaeda’s operations in the Indian sub-continent region. The investigators are on the lookout for another associate of the arrested accused identified as Shakeel, who is Minaz’s neighbour.
Additional Director General of police, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar, said that Al Qaeda was a multi-national terrorist organization founded in 1988 by Osama-bin-Laden and Abdullah Azzam during Soviet-Afghan war.
Also, its India sub-continent module was announced on September 3, 2014, by Al Zawahiri and Maulana Asim Omar was made its leader. Asim Umar had roots in Sambal district of Uttar Pradesh and was killed in 2019 in Afghanistan.Thereafter, this module was being run by Umar Halmandi from Peshawar/Quetta area.
“Umar Halmandi was radicalising and then recruiting men from Uttar Pradesh for his unit AGH. Halmandi along with other operatives and the arrested accused were planning to unleash terror activities on August 15 in different cities of the state, also important places having high footfall. They were also planning to use human bombs,” Kumar said.
“We had developed the information based on an informer’s tip-off and then the ATS team nabbed the accused. An IED in the form of a pressure cooker bomb recovered from the house of the accused was also defused by the bomb disposal unit,” said the ADG.
“During interrogation, the accused persons said that their accomplices ran away from their house. The ATS team along with the local police has undertaken intensive checking in and around Lucknow,” said Inspector General of Police, ATS, GK Goswamy.
Police also said that search operations in districts around Lucknow were under way.