Mohammed Kayyum knew the house where the alleged ISIS militant Saifullah stayed like the back of his hand. The ATS commandos couldn’t have found a better ‘cartographer’ than him to locate where exactly in the house Saifullah was firing at them from.
Using maps as an education tool is a part of the job of primary schoolteacher Kayyum, who lives in the house next to the one Saifullah had rented to allegedly control ISIS’s North India operations. He tutored the commandos on the layout of the house, eventually helping them shoot Saifullah through holes drilled in an iron door leading to a storeroom.
Kayyum had a picture of the interiors of the house in his mind because its owner – Badshah Mehboob, a zardozi worker in West Asia – depended on him for renting out the rooms through a local real estate agent and dealing with tenants. Saifullah and two others moved into a unit 46 days ago for a rent of Rs 3,300 a month and had promised to increase it to Rs 5,000 after two months.
“The militant was first firing from the main room. Later, he locked himself inside a small storeroom behind an iron door when the commandos hurled chilli bombs and tear gas shells. The commandos were finding it hard to target him because he was behind the iron door,” a senior police officer said.
“The commandos barged into the room after Kayyum gave us an idea of the layout. Kayyum’s house, adjacent to Saifullah’s, was also vacated as we felt the militant might blast his way out from there. We drilled through the iron door and managed to neutralise the militant,” he added. The ATS commandos were not sure about the number of militants present in the house. A micro-camera they had drilled through the roof made them think there were two people inside – one moving about and the other still.
After they killed the militant, the commandos discovered Saifullah had placed his shoes below a sack to give the impression of a man lying unconscious on the floor.