THE ANTI-TERRORISM Squad (ATS) investigating the Yavatmal case in which a 20-year-old youth allegedly stabbed a police constable to “avenge beef ban” is probing if the arrested accused was a member of the newly-floated ‘electronic warfare technology group’ of the banned outfit, the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Officials claim that the group was formed to facilitate creating an Indian wing “on the lines of al-Qaeda”.
Accused Abdul Malik is learnt to have told the ATS that he had been in touch with Shah Mudassir alias Talha (25), a businessman from Omerkhed in Maharashtra, and Shoeb Ahmed Khan alias Pusad Shoeb alias Tariq Bhai (24) of Hingoli district in Maharashtra. The two were arrested by the Hyderabad police in October 2014.
According to the police, Malik, who might have been radicalised by the same “handler” or some other person who was in charge of the Maharashtra operations, had stabbed the constable to lodge his protest against the beef ban imposed by the state government on September 25.
“Malik is from Pusad village in Yavatmal, which is close to Hingoli. He knew Shoeb and was in touch with him. We suspect it was Shoeb who introduced Malik to Mudassir. The three knew each other quite well but Shoeb and Mudassir did not reveal his name during the questioning and we stumbled upon Malik after he attacked a constable on duty on the Bakr-id day,” said a senior official privy to the development in the case. “We are now combing his call data record (CDR) and various social networking profiles to see if he was in touch with their handler too,” added the source.
The Hyderabad police probe had revealed that Mudassir and Shoaib visited Hyderabad in September last year to meet their handler who allegedly motivated them to go to Afghanistan via Bangladesh and get trained by al-Qaeda. The plan was to allegedly establish a wing on return to India.
“Malik has also told us that a cleric who radicalised him had asked him 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 hunt to locate the maulana is on,” the source added.
On September 25 this year, Malik, after offering namaz at a local mosque on Bakr-id day, allegedly stabbed the constable several times. The constable was on duty, posted outside the mosque. While stabbing him, an angry Malik had allegedly shouted: “Tumhari government beef ban karti hai, toh tum yeh lo (Your government bans beef, so you take this).” Malik allegedly also stabbed two more constables who intervened, but was subsequently overpowered by them.
Malik was immediately arrested and was slapped with a case of attempt to murder. Two days after his arrest, suspecting a larger angle of radicalisation at play, the ATS stepped in and took him into its custody.
The injured constable, who had to be hospitalised after the attack, has since been discharged, according to the police.
Meanwhile, Malik’s confessional statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was recorded before a local magistrate Tuesday. Investigators now plan to procure a copy to study it. “We want to see what has he revealed in his confessional statement so as to take action against those named in the statement,” said an official.