Three more suspected terrorists held, plot thickens (Roundup) (With images)September 21st, 2008 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Lucknow, Sep 21 (IANS) Investigating agencies Sunday arrested three more youngsters allegedly involved in the serial blasts that rocked New Delhi last week and linked the same terror module of the Indian Mujahideen to the blasts in Varanasi and Gorakhpur last year.Mohammad Shakil, Zia-ur-Rehman and Shakir Nissar were arrested early Sunday from south Delhi’s Jamia Nagar for their alleged involvement in the five serial blasts - one in Karol Bagh, two in Connaught Place and two in Greater Kailash - Sep 13 evening that killed 24 people and injured over 100.
The trio have been sent to police custody for 14 days.
Zia’s father Abdul Rehman, who was the caretaker of the L-18 Batla House where suspected terrorists Atif and Sajid were gunned down by police Friday, was also arrested for forgery and cheating.
With these arrests, the total number of suspected terrorists in police custody has gone up to five.
Police said they were now working on piecing together how the module carried out its deadly strikes across India.
The first to be arrested was Saif, picked up from the Jamia Nagar house after the gun battle Friday, and Zeeshan, arrested from Jhandewalan here the same night. Both are in police custody for 14 days.
The five men are suspected to be part of a 13-member module of the shadowy Indian Mujahideen that has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and New Delhi between May and September, together killing more than 130 people.
Police were now hunting for the six remaining members of the gang.
The terror module they are said to have been a part of was also planning to strike at Nehru Place, a prominent commercial complex in south Delhi, the police said after interrogating the three suspects.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh, who heads the blast probe, said the police had enough evidence that a few members of the same module of Indian Mujahideen were also involved in the blasts in Varanasi in March 2006 and in Gorakhpur in May 2007.
“Members of the same module planted bombs in three places in Varanasi and Gorakhpur. We are trying to piece together information to get the bigger picture and have got some clues from the laptop (recovered from the Jamia Nagar house),” said Singh.
He also pointed out that the police had enough leads about the financier of all the terror attacks and had passed on crucial information to the Uttar Pradesh police, which was conducting raids in the state.
From the laptop recovered, Singh said, it was clear that the arrested terrorists were all dreaming of becoming “India’s Most Wanted”.
As investigations into the recent terrorist attacks across the country zero in on youth from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati vowed to prevent the harassment of common Muslims in the name of combating terrorism.
“I wish to reassure all Muslims that no one will be allowed to target common Muslims in the name of the terrorist hunt,” Mayawati said at a press conference at her official residence.
“Officials have been told in no uncertain terms to ensure that the entire Muslim community is not blamed for spreading terror,” the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader said.
Meanwhile, villagers from Sanjarpur, that has a population of just 40,000, have been seething with anger and pain after Atif and Sajid were gunned down. They obviously had a clean image in the village.
Delhi Police say Atif was the brain behind the Delhi blasts and part of a 13-member terror module.
“He has never killed even an insect in his life for 17 years and all of a sudden, Delhi Police came up with the claim that he possessed an AK-47 and waged a war against the nation,” said Ansar, Sajid’s father who is a ‘hakim’ or medical practitioner.
Atif’s father Mohammad Amin loses consciousness every now and then.
“Although my son was doing his B.Tech from Jamia Milia Islamia, he used to live mostly in the village. Only four months ago, he told me that he would not be able to clear his examination if he didn’t attend classes,” Amin said, explaining why he had let Atif leave home.