In what is the first such incident in the state involving the Islamic State (IS), a team of the anti-terror National Investigating Agency (NIA) has detained for questioning a 19-year-old student from Durgapur. The boy hails from Dhaniakhali in Hooghly district bordering Burdwan and studies in a polytechnic college in Durgapur.
At the time of going to press, the NIA was still interrogating Ashique Ahmed and his father in the Salt Lake comples.
Durgapur is also not far from Burdwan, where the NIA had unearthed a terror module involving the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen of Bangladesh.
“Acting on a tip-off, NIA sleuths reached Durgapur with a team from the state CID and is presently questioning Ahmed. The 19-year-old is suspected of having links with the terror outfit IS. He used to stay in a rented accommodation in Durgapur and had even changed his name to Raja Das,” said Sanjeev Singh, I-G of NIA.
Ahmed was picked up late on Tuesday from Pashimpara village under Kanksha police station, around 10 km from Durgapur. Asif used to stay there at a rented accommodation with four of his friends.
Ahmed was immediately taken to his ancestral home in Dhaniakhali from where the NIA sleuths seized some documents. On Wednesday, Ahmed and his father was brought to Kolkata for questioning.
According to NIA sources, Ahmed’s name came up during interrogation of one Abdus Sami Qasmi, who was arrested by the NIA from Uttar Pradesh on February 5. In the middle of January this year, the NIA had received information that a a module with IS links were preparing for a strike. This group comprised young boys from different parts of the country. This information was worked upon along with various central agencies and state police forces.
Certain leads emerged out of the investigation. Based on these leads, simultaneous raids were conducted at 12 places in six cities -- Bangalore, Tumkur, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow. The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra also conducted raids at two other locations on January 22 and January 23. Fourteen people were arrested and incriminating articles, including mobile phones, laptops, jihadi literature and videos were seized.
Subsequent interrogation of those arrested led the cops to one Abdus Sami Qasmi. On February 5, the NIA with the help of ATS, Uttar Pradesh, nabbed Qasmi from Hardoi district of UP. “Qasmi was arrested on charges of planning terror attacks in the country and also launching some of them. He also delivered provocative speeches in the support of IS. After interrogating him the NIA came to know about Ashique Ahmed,” said an NIA official.