The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has arrested an accused in the 2006 Kalupur Railway Station blast case from Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir for his alleged involvement in “systemic brainwashing of students at a madrasa in Bharuch and later facilitating their travel to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) for terror training”. He has also been accused of conspiring with Pakistan’s ISI to fight against India.
A team of Gujarat ATS under SP Deepan Bhadran had travelled to Jammu and Kashmir to apprehend Bilal Ahmad alias Bilal Kashmiri, a resident of Debina village in Baramulla, who had been allegedly absconding for the past 15 years.
According to Gujarat Police, Aslam Kashmiri and Bashir Kashmiri, both accused in the case, were behind a module that “systemically brainwashed” students at a madrasa in Bharuch and later conspired the bomb blast at Kalupur Railway Station platform on March 19, 2006, in which one was killed and several injured. Ahmad was part of this module, police said.
Gujarat ATS, in a statement, said Ahmad’s role was to allegedly brainwash the students enrolled in a Bharuch madrasa through speeches and videos of the 2002 Gujarat riots and conflicts in Kashmir. “The accused Bilal Ahmad was a student in a madrasa in Bharuch in 2006 when he got involved with the banned terrorist organisation, Lashkar E Taiba. Under a conspiracy, he instigated and spread the misconception among other students regarding Kashmiri Muslims through the use of his eloquent speeches and religious extremism to trap them,” the statement read.
It further added that poor students were given false promises in exchange of joining the organisation. “Thus, by brainwashing the students, the accused used the network of Pakistan’s ISI agency to conspire and prepare them for the fight against India in order to avenge the riots of Gujarat in 2002 and facilitated their training in POK and other areas of Pakistan. We have found involvement of Bilal Ahmad in facilitating the crossing of Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir for their terror training in POK Based camps (sic),” it said.
Gujarat Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia said, “The investigation had revealed the nexus of Aslam and Bashir Kashmiri in the conspiracy and a total of nine persons have been arrested in the case so far. One accused named Bilal Ahmad had been absconding in the case since 2006 and after we received intelligence regarding his presence in Baramulla, a team was sent (to J&K). In cooperation with Jammu and Kashmir Police, the accused will be brought to Ahmedabad.” Ahmad is one of the nine accused in an FIR filed at Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) police station in 2006 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code Sections 120B for criminal conspiracy, and 124A for sedition.