A terror suspect allegedly linked to the Ujain train blast opened fire at security forces in Thakurganj area of Lucknow, on Tuesday afternoon. The Uttar Pradesh Anti Terror Squad, based on “concrete” information from intelligence, had gone to apprehend the suspect, identified as Saiful, from a house in Haji colony of Thakurganj area when he suddenly opened fire on the team. “Following this, ATS commandos returned fire at Saiful, who was on the first floor,” an official said.
Watch | Lucknow Encounter Ends, Terrorist Linked To Ujjain Train Blast Killed
The ATS is currently engaged in an operation in Thakurganj, which is among the densely populated areas of Lucknow. Security officials had to fire tear-gas shells into the house where the suspect is holed up. Police said they were suspecting just one person to be holed up inside the house, but they have not ruled out the possibility of there being more individuals.
In a press conference today, ADG (Law & Order) Daljit Chaudhary said they had received inputs about presence of some suspects linked to Ujjain train blast in Kanpur and Lucknow, following which senior officials searched the areas. “One suspect has been arrested from Kanpur, the second one is inside a building in Thakurganj. He has not come out yet.” Chaudhary refused to divulge any details on whether the suspects had any links to the train accidents as well as whether the suspect belonged to any terror organisation. “We will have to arrest and interrogate him first,” Chaudhary has said. The ADG added that the commandos were well trained in the operation and that they would complete the operation soon.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh IG Law & order Makrand Devaskar confirmed that Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train explosion that took place, earlier in the day, was a terrorist attack. He confirmed that it was an IED blast and added that three people have been arrested from Pipariya in connection with the case. News agency ANI reported that more than six were injured in the explosion.
Civilians residing in the area have been moved away and the ATS has surrounded the structure where the suspect is currently holed up. The security officials are not sure of the number of suspects inside the house. While there was initial firing, it has now stopped. The security personnel are reaching out to the suspect hopeful that he will surrender, but he has reportedly declined to surrender. The security personnel will have to ascertain the amount and kind of weapons present with the suspect before they plan on their next move. The other option with the police is to storm the house and neutralise the suspect. A high-level meeting between government and police officials is currently underway.
WATCH: Visuals from the encounter site (time deferred)
IG ATS Aseem Arun summoned elite commandos from Bijnaur police facility. The ATS team is trying to ensure that the suspect runs out of ammunition before barging inside. IG Lucknow Zone A Satish Ganesh said, “The suspect was not surrendering. Instead he was resorting to firing. Chilli bombs were used to smoke him out.”
Arun, who was conducting the operation, said, “When the police knocked the door (of the house where the terror suspect is holed up), he closed the door, and then there was a sound of pistol fire, which proved that he has weapons. “We are not in a hurry to finish the operation, but want to catch him alive. Hence, we are using chilly powder,” he said.
He said the suspect resorted to intermittent firing. “We have withheld firing from our side. It appears only one person is hiding inside the house,” he said
Meanwhile, the Union government is reportedly monitoring the situation in Lucknow very closely. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has briefed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the developments in Lucknow. Today’s encounter comes hours before Uttar Pradesh goes to vote in the seventh and last phase of polling.
Suspected terrorist holed up by UP ATS in Thakurganj area of Lucknow. Operation in progress. (Visuals deferred by unspecified time) pic.twitter.com/fHDHM7b2tQ
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 7, 2017