DAYS AFTER an alleged Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant from Assam, identified as Qamar uz Zaman, was arrested in Uttar Pradesh, the police Saturday claimed to have arrested a “close associate” in Assam’s Hojai district.
The alleged associate was identified as Shah Newaz, 39.
A team of Assam Police went to UP to question Zaman, while a police team from the Hindi heartland state reached Hojai on Saturday to primarily question Shah Newaz. Officials said the police may also question other people suspected to be involved with Zaman.
Zaman, who was untraceable since July 2017, was said to have joined the HM after a gun-wielding photo of his emerged on social media in April this year.
The police said it has now emerged in investigation that Zaman may have visited Assam recently and was helped by Shah Newaz. Both are said to be childhood friends and their association has developed over the years since both were into pharmaceuticals-related business, it was informed.
“It has been learnt that Zaman had come to Assam last month and met, among others, Shah Newaz. Shah Newaz also supposedly bought him a mobile phone and a SIM card, which was now been recovered from his possession by UP Police,” Hojai Superintendent of Police Ankur Jain said.
Neither Zaman’s family nor Shah Newaz had alerted the police that the suspected militant was visiting his home, Jain said.
The police are also investigating whether Zaman, during his recent visit, made new contacts in an effort to draw more people towards the militant outfit. “We are investigating. Everything will be confirmed after that (once the probe is over),” Jain added.