New Delhi: Sambhal district in western Uttar Pradesh has come under the scanner of anti-terror agencies, with the police finding it to be the home of several alleged members of dreaded outfit Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) who have been providing active support for the group.
This was disclosed in a chargesheet filed by the Special Cell of Delhi Police before a city court. The chargesheet was filed against 17 suspected AQIS members, of whom 12 are absconding, for allegedly trying to set up a base for Al Qaeda in India under the banner of AQIS.
The police has claimed that Sambhal resident Maulana Asim Umar, who is currently in Pakistan, is the AQIS chief and six out of the 17 chargesheeted accused belonged to this district.
According to the final report, while Sambhal residents Mohd Asif and Zafar Masood have been arrested in the case, the other four, Maulana Asim Umar, Syed Akhtar, Mohd Sharjeel Akhtar and Usman, who also belong to the district, are still at large, around 200 kilometres from Delhi.
It claimed that these Sambhal-based accused were motivating Indian youths to join 'jihad' and have facilitated their departure to Pakistan for arms training for terror acts.
The police has alleged that a number of youths from Sambhal had joined Al Qaeda cadre in Pakistan and returned here after arms training. It claimed that AQIS has received aid from several terror outfits in Pakistan and had several sympathisers and financers in Sambhal.
"During interrogation, accused Mohd Asif revealed that he joined terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda following some local youths of Sambhal, who had left India long ago. He also revealed that he had radicalised a number of youth of western
UP into joining Al Qaeda as he himself believed and advocated the ideology of Al Qaeda," the charge sheet alleged.
"Asif, a member of AQIS, stated that from his ideology, several youth had performed 'hijrat', i.e. migrated to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan etc for receiving 'askari', i.e. terrorist training from several terror organisations. He had joined Al Qaeda, being motivated by these terror icons of Sambhal," the police claimed in the charge sheet.
It said that absconding accused Syed Akhtar alias Qasim, also a resident of Sambhal, was currently residing in Pakistan and used to motivate youths for 'jihad' and radicalised them against the "role of Americans against Muslim community throughout the world."
The chargesheet claimed that a book written by the AQIS chief was used to motivate youths for 'jihad'. It said some of the persons who moved out of Sambhal earlier for terror purposes had also facilitated the training of youths from the district with terror organisations in Pakistan and other countries.
"In 1995, wanted accused Sanaul Haq, a resident of Sambhal, had left India and after joining Harkat-ul- Mujahideen, had settled in Pakistan," the charge sheet said.
"Asif disclosed that in January 2015, Qasim had told him to arrange a secret place in Sambhal for the stay of some AQIS members who would be coming from Pakistan. On this, Mohd Asif asked him to send Rs two lakh for constructing a place to serve as a secret hideout in Sambhal. Later, Asif collected the money from Lahori Gate in Delhi, and spent this amount in the activities of AQIS," the charge sheet said.
All the 17 accused were chargesheeted for alleged offences under sections 18 (punishment for conspiracy), 18-B (punishment for recruiting of any person for terror act) and 20 (punishment for being member of terror organisation) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The five arrested accused in the case are, Asif, Masood, Mohd Abdul Rehman, Syed Anzar Shah and Abdul Sami. They were arrested between December 2015 and January 2016 from different parts of the country.
The police had alleged that the accused were in touch with terrorists from Pakistan, Iran and Turkey via social media and mobile phones, and they had visited these countries and also financed AQIS and motivated the youths for 'jihad'.
The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrant against 12 absconding accused, Syed Akhtar, Sanaul Haq, Usman, Mohd Sharjeel Akhtar, Mohd Rehan, Abu Sufiyan, Syed Mohd Arshiyan, Syed Mohd Zishan Ali, Sabeel Ahmed, Mohd Shahid Faisal, Mohd Umar and Farhatullah Ghori....