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ISIS-linked terror suspect arrested in Delhi may have used UP college as a hideout

Police have said Parvaiz Rashid Lone, a former student who was arrested from a bus stop in old Delhi, had links with the Jammu & Kashmir unit of the Islamic State (ISJK).

india Updated: Sep 09, 2018 10:13 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Amroha (Uttar Pradesh)
Jammu and Kashmir Islamic State,Terror suspect,Amroha college
The room where terror accused Parvaiz Rashid Lone used to stay in Amroha on Saturday.(Amal KS/HT Photo)

At the DNS College of Engineering in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, Saturday was a little different from any other day.

The college, which operates from a nondescript building and has 500 students, witnessed a constant stream of visitors. Almost all of them were policemen.

Personnel of the Uttar Pradesh police’s intelligence unit and the Centre’s Intelligence Bureau, along with the local cops, had swarmed the college to gather details about Parvaiz Rashid Lone, a former student who was arrested from a bus stop in old Delhi on Thursday night. Police claimed he had links with the Jammu & Kashmir unit of the Islamic State (ISJK).

The last time Lone was spotted in Amroha was on Tuesday. “We suspect that Lone had used his college as a hideout to spend the night, before he returned to Delhi to board a bus to Jammu,” said a police officer present at the college on Saturday.

A manager at the DNS said it was around 11.30 pm that Lone came to the college with a young man.

“Lone said the man wanted admission in DNS using his reference. Since Lone was our student in 2012 and had also taught at a school here for a few months in 2017, we allowed him to stay the night. The next day, they left after lunch. In the afternoon, he called one of our teachers, Bashir Ahmad Dar. Dar was picked up by the local police on Friday when they traced Lone’s calls,” said the manager, requesting anonymity.

No one could identify the young man who accompanied Lone on the night of September 4, but police suspects it could be Jamsheed Zahoor Paul, the second ISJK suspect who was arrested with Lone in Delhi.

The Delhi Police have accused Paul of keeping regular contact with the head of ISJK, Omar Ibn Nazir, for the past few months. On Friday, deputy commissioner of police (special cell), Pramod Kushwah, had said that Paul arranged accommodation and travel for “terrorist” Abdullah Basit.

Basit, the alleged chief of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its recruiter in the Indian subcontinent, was arrested by the National Investigations Agency last month.

A senior police officer from the Delhi Police’s special cell, who refused to be named, said that the unit had identified two probable weapons suppliers.

“Both the identified suspects could be minors. We are verifying their association with Paul and Lone,” the officer said.

Till the beginning of 2018, Lone had stayed in Amroha, some 180 km from Delhi.

Dr Irfan Ahmed, who runs a hospital and rents out rooms to students, was Lone’s landlord for about four months.

“He used to stay with two other students in an 8x8 room here, and each paid ?500 per month as rent. After he left my house, no one saw Lone in the neighbourhood,” the doctor said.

Lone had come to Amroha in August 2012 when he got enrolled in DNS college to study B.Tech civil engineering. Among his juniors and faculty members at DNS college, Lone is known as a quiet man who always had headphones on.

They said he was mostly seen with some Kashmiri students in the hostel.

Lone failed the first semester and withdrew his name from the college. “In his first semester, he flunked in six subjects. After that, he did not attend classes,” said Azim, who did not give his full name.

Azim teaches civil engineering at DNS.

To complete his graduation, Lone got admission in Shri Venkateshwara University in Gajraula, 20km from Amroha.

After completing B.Tech from the university, Lone returned to a school run by the same institution as a teacher and taught there for about four months.

Sharad Kumar, head of the engineering department in Shri Venkateshwara University, had taught Lone in his last year of B.Tech.

“He was not seen in class much. I remember he had submitted his final year civil engineering project on a topic related to concrete. His final percentage was between 60%-62%. We never thought any of our students would be in the news for terror affiliations,” Kumar said.

Prabhat Srivastava, the OSD to the chairman of Shri Venkateshwara University, said they were totally unaware of Lone’s presence or activities after he left the institute in 2016.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 08:51 IST