Sajid, the alleged kingpin of the group picked up for alleged Jaish links, learned to make bombs on YouTube, the police said.
The police had picked up 12 youth, who are believed to be heavily influenced by the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, in raids at UP and Delhi. Three of them who were arrested from Delhi -- Sajid, Sameer and Shakir -- were indoctrinated by Jaish videos and wanted to fight for the terror group, the police claimed on Wednesday.
Police sources said the activities of the group were being monitored for the past six months after Sajid and Shakir made a phone call to Pakistan.
Sources said Sajid started with liking Facebook posts related to Jaish and posting comments on similar websites. It is not clear whether Jaish-e-Mohammad has a Facebook account or not.
After allegedly following the members of communities related to terrorism and websites that have such content, Sajid “got a contact number” and was told to contact JeM founder Maulana Masood Azhar’s brother Talha.
“Talha could be anyone...he might be an ISI agent. Talha guided Sajid. One of Masood Azhar’s brothers operates by the name of Talha. The man told him to gather youths and prepare improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” said an official.
Sajid, who lives in northeast Delhi’s Bhajanpura area, also allegedly got instructions on WhatsApp. “He downloaded videos related to Jaish-e-Mohammad and searched YouTube for tips to make IEDs,” police sources said.
“Over the past few months, Sajid and Shakir mastered making explosives and prepared one complete IED,” they said. Another ‘device’ that police recovered was damaged. It was claimed that Sajid had burnt his hand while making it.
“One of our informers knew about their movements and was privy to meetings held at Sajid’s house. I cannot say if he or she had infiltrated Sajid’s group. They had not targeted any specific shopping mall or received any order to blow up a certain place but were getting violent and gearing up to use the IEDs they had prepared. They had to be arrested,” said a senior officer.
Sources said police have Facebook and WhatsApp chats as evidence. The explosives recovered have been sent to the CBI’s forensic laboratory. “They were self radicalised. They did not use sophisticated devices or code names to contact Talha.They used forwarded videos and those uploaded on YouTube to get motivated for jihad,” the officer said.
Sources said the other nine accused had pledged allegiance to JeM but the police do not have evidence against them. Their financial records are also being checked. “Prima facie, it looks like they were collecting money and funding their own expenses but it is too early to say anything conclusive,” the officer said.