The two alleged Pakistani terrorists arrested by the UP ATS in Gorakhpur late on Wednesday night had intended to target an “unarmed uniformed force” somewhere in the state, police said on Thursday. ATS sources said the men, when shown a picture of alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) leader Riyaz Bhatkal, had identified him as ‘Tauseef’.
IG (Law & Order) Amrendra Sengar said the men had been picked up outside Gorakhpur railway station with AK 47 assault rifles, .30 bore Chinese pistols, over 100 rounds of ammunition and US and Indian currency notes. They were believed to have received training at a Taliban camp in Afghanistan, Sengar said.
Sources said the two alleged terrorists had been directed to fire indiscriminately at an “unarmed uniformed force” in a building with a boundary wall lower than six feet.
The IM had attempted a similar but largely unsuccessful attack earlier, when Waqas and Asadullah Akhtar — both of whom are currently in custody — allegedly fired at a bus carrying foreign tourists near Delhi’s Jama Masjid ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The men have been identified as Abdul Waleed alias Murtaza alias Afroz, and Faheem alias Mohammad Owais alias Salam, both natives of Karachi, police said. Fake voter IDs found on them carried Gorakhpur addresses, the police said.
The two terrorists had allegedly been sent to India by Riyaz Bhatkal who is believed to be based in Karachi. They were arrested following information obtained during the interrogation of alleged IM operatives Waqas and Tehseen Akhtar ‘Monu’, sources said. Waqas and Monu, who were arrested on Sunday and Tuesday respectively, are now in the custody of Delhi Police’s Special Cell.
A top ATS officer said the two men had crossed over to India using Riyaz’s connections in Nepal. They had been dropped by conduits at a place 8 km from the border on the Nepalese side. The men, who had been handed Indian IDs before being dropped, then walked through the Sanauli outpost.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.