Raising slogans of ‘Pakistan Murdabad’, over 200 local youths attacked a barber shop run by the father of Mohammad Aleem, who was among those detained as part of a nation-wide anti-terror operation on Friday, at Lucknow’s Indira Nagar market Saturday morning.
The youths painted the shop’s signboard black and also damaged the shutters by pelting stones before police arrived. The shop was yet to open for the day. Police have now deployed some men at Aleem’s house in the same locality.
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No FIR had been lodged in the matter till evening, but Additional Director General, Law and Order, Daljeet Singh Chowdhary said a case would be registered against those in the mob.
The youths gathered outside Aleem’s father Mohammad Saleem’s barber shop located in a shopping complex near Munshipulia police outpost around 10 am and started raising slogans against Pakistan and terror outfits. They pelted stones and pulled down the signboard to paint it black.
Saleem, who is originally from Barabanki, said the family was scared. “I have been running the shop for the last three decades. It is sad that people who earlier respected me have changed soon after my son was arrested.”
Mother Ishrat Jahan said, “People should understand that court has not held my son guilty of any crime so far. I am sure this is a case of mistaken identity. Aleem has never gone out of the country. We suspect accessing Facebook, which he did on his cellphone, has landed him in trouble.”
Aleem, their only son, was a BCom third-year student at a degree college in Faizabad district. His younger sister is married and lives in Lucknow.
“We hardly allowed him to go out of the city. Aleem used to shoot marriage videos. On Thursday, he had gone to a hotel for shooting a marriage function when police arrived and took him into custody. Later in the night, I was called to the hotel, from where police took him. I was allowed to return home. On Friday evening, my wife and I met Aleem at the ATS office, and he said he was innocent and had been framed,” said Saleem.
On Saturday, the NIA and central security agencies said all 14 detained on Friday for alleged links with a group that has “affiliations” to the Islamic State had been put under formal arrest, including Aleem.
Aleem as well as another youth from Uttar Pradesh — 19-year-old Class XII student Mohammad Rizwan, of Kushinagar district — are believed to have come in contact with ‘IS recruiters’ through social media a few months ago.
Investigating agencies said Aleem came on their radar after he liked the page of an organisation supporting the IS. Later, the agencies reportedly found he had provided shelter to three “IS suspects” at his uncle’s house in Lucknow for a couple of days, a few months ago. His activities became more suspicious after that, said officials.
While Aleem was taken to Delhi on Saturday by the NIA, the Mumbai ATS took Rizwan with them.
Rizwan is the youngest of four children of a revenue clerk.