Bengaluru: In an alarming indication that Bengaluru could be turning into a terror nursery, the Delhi police, over the last week, arrested not one, but two active members of the banned terrorist outfit, Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), for carrying out an alleged recruitment drive of young, vulnerable Muslim youth in the city.
“Last week, the special cell of the Delhi police arrested a suspect, Pasha, from near the Shivajinagar bus stand for his alleged links with the AQIS. He was taken to Delhi on a transit remand and produced before a court there,” said an official source, on condition of anonymity. The other accused, Maulana Anzar Shah, was picked up - as reported - on January 6 night in a joint operation by the Delhi and Bengaluru police from near a mosque in (Ilyasnagar) Jayanagar. “Pasha was reportedly involved in recruiting AQIS cadres in Bengaluru, while Anzar was under the scanner for delivering hate speeches and inciting Muslim youth,” the officer said.
The arrests followed the interrogation of Maulana Abdul Rehman (37), who was picked up on December 16 in a joint operation by the Delhi and Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police at Jagatpur in Odisha for his alleged links with the AQIS.
Rehman reportedly told the police that he visited Bengaluru frequently and had built a network of sympathisers and financiers here. “When in city, Rehman stayed with Pasha and Anzar. The trio was involved in recruiting vulnerable youth for jihad against India ,” the officer said.
“Anzar used to deliver provocative hate speeches during the Friday bayan in a mosque in Jayanagar. In 2012, the mosque authorities had warned him and told him to stay away from the mosque. But he soon found his way back and delivered the sermons. He had created a chat group on WhatsApp, on which he sent vitriolic sermons to the members. He was issued a passport in Bengaluru in 2006 and it is due to expire in 2017,” said an official source.
Meanwhile, Delhi police are also investigating Anzar’s links in the recent Malda violence in West Bengal. But for the swift action by the Delhi police, the AQIS would have remained an anonymous entity for the Karnataka police. Despite the presence of the Internal Security Division, State Intelligence and the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau in the city, it was the Delhi police who took preventive action and neutralized the growing AQIS network in the city.
Maulvi will walk out free: Followers
The Makkah Masjid in Banashankari, where thousands of people gather for their Friday afternoon prayers, saw only a few hundreds this Friday after the arrest of Maulvi Syed Anzar Shah Qasmi by the Delhi police for his alleged links with the al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent.
While clergy men distanced themselves from Qasmi’s sermons, a section of the community members was confident that he would walk out free. “People who do good for the community will be tested in a number of ways and our Maulvi will come out clean,” said Navid Ahmed, a staunch follower of Qasmi. “He was tough on our community people, asking us to follow Islam properly, but he had nothing against any other religion,” said Sadaqath, a regular at the masjid.