The ban on beef trade imposed by the incumbent BJP-led Maharashtra government and the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, allegedly instigated the two arrested Parbhani youth to join the globally banned terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), sources in the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) told The Indian Express.
“The duo during interrogation revealed that the two incidents angered them and therefore to avenge the alleged wrongdoings they decided to fight alongside IS and serve the Caliphate,” a senior official from the ATS told The Indian Express.
Sources also add that the duo took the Baya (an oath of allegiance) to the “Caliph of Islamic State” on the orders of their handler Farooque who the agency suspects to be Shafi Armar, the Ansarul Tawhid (AuT) chief.
“The duo claim that as a part of the ‘induction process’, the two pledged their allegiance by taking an oath of Baya in Hindi. The transcript for the same was sent by their handler Farooque through encrypted messengers services,” the official added. “We suspect Farooque to be none other than Shafi Armar alias Yusuf who was also the handler of the 21-member home grown module Janood-ul-Khalifa-Hind, the alleged Indian hand of the globally banned outfit which was busted by the National Investigation Agency along with six state counter terrorism agencies including the Maharashtra ATS in January this year,” added the official.
Sleuths from the state counter terrorism agency are now combing Call Data Records (CDRs) of the duo to study their movements and to also find out if there are more accomplices. “We suspect that the module is not restricted to these two individuals and have more people and therefore their CDRs, mobile phones are being studied to find more leads on their possible accomplices,” added the official.
The ATS suspects that the IED prepared by the accused could have been used in the upcoming festive season. “The fact that the duo had prepared the bomb at the time when the festive season is about to start, we suspect that the module was planning to carry out an attack during that period. Since the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was operated through a remote controlled car key, the target could be an individual. But given the fact that the one-kilogram IED was embellished with shrapnel, the target could also be places of high footfalls where shrapnel were meant to cause extra damage. Different angles are being explored,” added the source.
The ATS has arrested Shaheed Khan (24), a commerce graduate and Nasir Chaus (31), a civil engineering dropout from Parbhani in connection with the case. The ATS has booked them for criminal conspiracy under Section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and certain sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).