The Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on Wednesday night arrested two suspected Pakistani terrorists who were allegedly planning suicide attacks on political leaders including BJP leader Narendra Modi and disrupt the parliamentary polls.
The two fidayeen terrorists – identified only as Murtaza and Owais -- were picked up from the Gorakhpur railway station following a tip-off by the arrested operational chief of Indian Mujahideen (IM) Tehseen Akhtar.
Akhtar, who was arrested by a special cell of Delhi police from West Bengal on Tuesday, had told interrogators about the suicide attacks planned by the IM with Pakistan-based militant groups during the Lok Sabha elections, UP police sources said.
Police said that two AK-47 rifles, two pistols, 100 cartridges and explosives were seized from the militants, who had sneaked into UP from Nepal before reaching Gorakhpur, about 250 km from Lucknow.
They were said to be waiting for their 'local contacts' of the IM when the ATS team swooped down on them.
ATS inspector general Rajiv Sabbarwal told HT that police was confident of gleaning more information from the arrested duo, specially on the network of IM and Pakistan militant groups in UP.
"We showed them the pictures of IM operatives and they identified Riyaz Bhatkal (co-founder of IM). They claimed to have met Riyaz at training camps run by Taliban in Pakistan," Sabbarwal said.
The militants, who are in their early twenties, are also said to have told interrogators that they were trained by Taliban commander Abdullah for the suicide mission.
Police claimed that many youths from UP and other states have also been trained in Taliban camps to carry out fidayeen attack in India.
Before leaving for India, the two militants were told to target "gair mussala" (unarmed people) in political rallies or religious congregations to ensure maximum impact, police said.