TWO DAYS after the blast on board a Bhopal-Ujjain train and the anti-terror operations that followed in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, leading to the arrests of nine and the killing near Lucknow of a terrorist identified as Mohammad Saifullah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha Thursday that “a possible threat to national security” had been averted. Delivering a statement in the Lower House after question hour, the Home Minister also praised Saifullah’s father Mohammed Sartaj, who had refused to accept the body of his son, saying “we cannot have anything to do with one who could not be loyal to his country”.
“The Government is proud of him (Sartaj) and I am sure Parliament is, too,” said Singh, as members cutting across party lines thumped their desks in endorsement. Incidentally, the Home Minister did not link the arrests after the attack to the Islamic State in his statement.
Reacting to the Home Minister’s comments, Sartaj told reporters in Lucknow that it was “a matter of happiness that they have acknowledged our decision”. “It is a big gesture to laud a small man’s decision, and sends out a good message to all countrymen,” he said.
WATCH VIDEO |NIA Will Probe Lucknow Encounter: Rajnath Singh
In Lok Sabha, Rajnath said that the “investigation of the whole episode will be conducted by the NIA (National Investigation Agency)”. “The sequence of events presents an excellent example of co-ordination among state police forces and central agencies. Due to the prompt action taken by police of both the states, a possible threat to national security was averted,” said Singh.
Providing details of the encounter, Singh said Saifullah was killed after an encounter with UP Police ATS on the outskirts of Lucknow that lasted around 12 hours. Six suspects were arrested by police in Madhya Pradesh and UP on terror charges, he said.
The Home Minister said that various cases had been registered following the train blast, which left 10 passengers injured. The Madhya Pradesh police had arrested three suspects in Hoshangabad and the UP police had nabbed three people following information provided by the accused, he said. Eight pistols, 630 live cartridges, Rs 1.5 lakh, three mobiles phone, four SIM cards, two wireless sets and some foreign currency were recovered from the location where Saifullah lived, he said.