Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Sunday busted an Al Qaeda module in the sate, that was planning terrorist attacks – including using “human bombs” – in crowded areas of state capital Lucknow and other cities in the state, the police said.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said that the two arrested men – Minhaz Ahmed and Maseeruddin also known as Mushir – both residents of Lucknow district – were planning explosions, at several places in state.
While Ahmed is a resident of Lucknow’s Dubagga area, Maseeruddin lived in Madiyaon area of the Uttar Pradesh capital, said the police. A huge amount of explosive was seized from their houses, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar told reporters.
This arrest has led the police to the discovery of the Al Qaeda-supported ‘Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’ terrorist cell, the police said. “ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) UP has uncovered a big terror module. The team has arrested two terrorists linked with Al Qaeda’s Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. Arms, explosive materials have been recovered in searches,” senior police officer Prashant Kumar said at a news conference.
“They were planning explosions at important places, memorials and crowded places, and also to use human bombs before August 15 (Independence Day) in different cities of the state, including Lucknow. For this, they were collecting weapons and explosives,” he said.
“The terror activities were being run from Peshawar and Quetta on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border by an Al Qaeda member called Umar Halmandi,” Mr Kumar added.
They were planning to “unleash terror activities before August 15 (Independence Day) in different cities of the state, including Lucknow,” Kumar said. According to the police official, members of this module are not only from Lucknow, but also from Kanpur in the state.
The accused were working on the instructions of Umar Halmandi, the head of the Uttar Pradesh module of Al-Qaeda, the ADGP added.
The ATS is conducting raids at different places to catch the associates of the two terrorists, who escaped before Ahmed and Maseeruddin were arrested.
The police said they found explosives and a pistol at the home of Minhaj Ahmed, who is in his thirties and lives in Kakori town of Lucknow district.
Another team carried out searches at the home of Maseeruddin, who is aged about 50, in Mariahu town of Jaunpur district and found a large number of explosives and a cooker set to be used as a crude bomb, they said.
The two men will be presented in court where the police will request to question them in custody.
Both the Al-Qaeda operatives will be produced before a court, and then taken into police custody.
Ahmed’s father runs a motor workshop in the area where the family lives; they have been staying there for the past 15 years, said a policeman on condition of anonymity. Incriminating material, including two semi-prepared IED-based pressure cooker bombs, explosive materials and a pistol was recovered by the ATS form the house, which has now been sealed.
The police have intensified checking at all vital installations in Uttar Pradesh, including airports. Checking at highways and bus stations has been intensified.