The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is on the lookout for a local priest from Yavatmal district suspecting that he might have instigated a youth to stab a constable in a bid to register protest against the beef ban imposed by the state government.
The incident took place on September 25 this year, on the day of Bakr-id, when Abdul Malik (20), an unemployed youth from Pusad village in Yavatmal, repeatedly stabbed a constable after offering namaz at a local mosque. The constable was on duty, posted outside the mosque. He survived the attack.
While stabbing him, an angry Malik allegedly shouted, “Tumhari government beef ban karti hai, toh yeh lo (Your government bans beef, so you suffer).” Malik allegedly also attacked two more constables who tried to intervene. Subsequently, Malik was overpowered by the constables and they seized his knife.
Malik was immediately arrested by the local police and was slapped with a case of attempt to murder. Two days after his arrest, suspecting a larger angle of radicalisation at play, the state’s counter terrorism agency stepped in and took his custody. The agency is now probing if Malik had any accomplice and if more people have been radicalised by his handler, suspected to be a local maulana (priest).
Confirming the incident, Special Inspector General, ATS, Niket Kaushik told The Indian Express: “He (Malik) is in our custody and we are probing various angles.”
The ATS suspects that Malik was trained on the lines of a lone-wolf attack.
Sources said the police were on the lookout for the ‘maulana’ who might have instigated Malik to stab the constable.
“During his interrogation, Malik told us that a local maulana radicalised him and therefore he stabbed the constable.
The maulana allegedly told Malik that Muslims in India were under threat and that they should do something about it. He also cited the beef ban imposed by the state government and said it should be seen as a threat to their liberties. Therefore, he decided to stab the constable,” said a senior official.
“Malik has also told us that the said maulana enquired if his parents would register a missing complaint in case he went missing for a couple of weeks. He intended to send him on some ‘training’. We want to know what exactly the plan was. A manhunt to locate the maulana has been launched,” added the official.
The agency plans to record Malik’s confessional statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.