Delhi police revelations about an al Qaeda training camp “somewhere in Jharkhand” has set alarm bells ringing in a state battling Left-wing extremist outfits in at least 16 out of 24 districts.
Though Jharkhand police on Saturday denied presence of any base of the outlawed terror outfit, the state has been a breeding ground of terrorists affiliated to different fundamentalist outfits.
In its application before a court in the national capital on Friday, Delhi Police said they were trying to trace one Abu Sufiyan of Jharkhand who had allegedly travelled to Pakistan and returned to India after receiving training at camps of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and al Qaeda Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS).
Delhi police made the disclosure in an application seeking extension of the time period for filing charge sheet against al Qaeda member, Mohammad Asif, who was arrested on December 14. HT has a copy of the Delhi police application.
The court, it is learnt, has granted the time extension.
During a month long drive early this year, Delhi police arrested five AQIS members identified as Mohammad Asif, Zafar Masood, Mohammad Abdul Rehman, Syed Anzar Shah and Abdul Sami from different states. Sami, a resident of Jamshedpur, allegedly accompanied Abu Sufiyan to Pakistan.
Police said Asif and Masood are residents of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, Rehman is from Cuttack in Odisha, while Shah hails from Bengaluru in Karnataka.
“Sufiyan’s arrest is crucial in finding out the missing links of the larger conspiracy,” the application said. His travel details to Pakistan were collected from Emirates Airlines, Dubai (UAE), and Pakistan International Airlines.
These AQIS members, Delhi police say, had allegedly planned to carry out terror attacks in Delhi and other cities on January 26.
The application said Sami allegedly motivated and recruited youths for LeT and AQIS and added there were specific inputs that Rehman in cooperation with others set up a training base which was yet to be located.
Jharkhand police spokesperson SN Pradhan said “there are no terror camps in Jharkhand jungles”.
Inspector general of police (operation) MS Bhatia too denied the Delhi police claim.
“Modules of the Indian Mujahiddin existed in the state but they have been busted. They were responsible for the Patna and the Bodh Gaya blasts. The terrorists develop sleeper cells in the state whose members carry out violent acts in other states,” he added.
Jharkhand has around 18 Maoist groups, many of which are rag-tag bands of criminals engaged in abduction and extortion. Several of them are also said to enjoy political patronage.
Tryst with terror
Patna blast: Five-six teams with links to the Indian Mujahideen (IM) carried out a series of bomb blasts on October 27, 2013 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna killing five people. NIA arrested suspected members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and IM chief of Jharkhand module Haider Ali from Ranchi. His associates including a juvenile were arrested from different parts of Jharkhand.
Burdwan blast: NIA and Jharkhand police arrested several terrorists with links to the Jamat-ul-Mujahidin, an organisation operating from Bangladesh, from Pakur district in Jharkhand. They were wanted in connection with the Burdwan blast in October last year. Prominent among them were Ibrahim Sheikh, Harun Rashid, Jahangir Sheikh and Salauddin.
Ranchi boy’s ISI link
Ranchi resident Faizal Rahman alias Guddu alias Faizrul Rahman was arrested from a cyber café near Kanpur central railway station by the Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorist squad for alleged links with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, in September 2011. Married to a Pakistani national, Faizal did his graduation from JN College, Dhurwa in Ranchi. Jharkhand police also raided his home in Ranchi and seized incriminating papers to suggest he was a full-time ISI operative in India.
Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune
A resident of Ranchi, Manzar Imam, was arrested after his name cropped up in the twin Hyderabad blasts. Imam was wanted in several other cases including the Ahmedabad serial blasts, the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts and Pune blasts. He is part of the Indian Mujahideen module which planned and carried out several blasts across the county. Investigators believe that Imam played a significant role in building up the IM’s terror network.