Hyderabadi Biryani. According to the police, that’s how 25-year-old Shah Mudassir referred to the plot to procure locally available explosives during online chats with jihadi elements.
Mudassir and his friend Shoeb Khan were arrested by the Hyderabad police in October this year while tarying to obtain a visa for Afghanistan, where they were to undergo weapons training.
According to the Hyderabad police, the duo was in touch with Abu Saif and Kamran Sha from Pakistan, Zahid-al-Hindi from Afghanistan and three other people from Saidabad in Hyderabad. Police sources said Kamran had shared details with Mudassir about easily available chemicals that could be used to manufacture explosives.
Apart from allegedly being active on jihadi chat rooms with Pakistani nationals, Mudassir, an arts graduate from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, has also been charged by the Hyderabad police with being a member of Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi).
Mudassir’s family finds all these allegations rather far-fetched, claiming he was involved in social work and denying he had any association with the banned outfit.
Seated in his three-room home in Umerkhed, which local police officers describe as a communally sensitive town, Mudassir’s father Rehmat Shah says his son was religious and used to offer prayers five times a day. A wedding card in hand, Rehmat claims Mudassir had gone to Hyderabad to shop for a relative’s upcoming nuptials.
According to police sources, Mudassir got his passport in February this year following verification and clearance from the special branch of the Yavatmal police. The local police said they have no record of Mudassir’s association with Simi.
Pusad, a small town in Yavatmal district, where Shoeb Khan was introduced to online chat rooms. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT photo)
But sources in the Hyderabad Special Investigation Team (SIT) claim Mudassir was an active Simi member. They also suspect that he may have radicalised others such as Shoeb Khan.
His elder brother Muzammil maintains he was a keen social worker who would help accident victims or others in need. But the police believe this was a smokescreen created to brainwash youngsters.
Muzammil said that Mudassir used to frequent cyber cafes and was active on social networking sites. But he denies any knowledge of his brother using chat rooms. “He used to visit the cyber café whenever we asked him to send a mail,” said Muzammil.
Apart from the mental anguish, Mudassir’s arrest has also hit the family hard on the business front, in which they deal with computers.
“Now no one wants to sell us new hard disks or outsource work to us. We are unsure whether we should buy new computer hardware as we fear security agencies will seize the new equipment,” said Muzammil.