The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested a maulana under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for allegedly “indoctrinating” and “radicalising” a youth to take
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested a maulana under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for allegedly “indoctrinating” and “radicalising” a youth to take up anti-national activities in India.
The alleged accused, Maulana Hafij Mujib (26), has been arrested from Pusad town in Yavatmal and has been remanded to police custody for further probe. Additional director general, ATS, Vivek Phansalkar confirmed the development.
Mujib came under the ATS radar after the arrest of a youngster Abdul Malik in Pusad. On September 25 this year, the Pusad police arrested Malik for stabbing a police constable. Malik was angry with the government for banning beef and vented his anger on the constable. Malik is said to have expressed this at the time of stabbing the constable. He has been booked for attempt to murder.
The ATS ran a parallel inquiry and learnt that 20-year-old Malik was being indoctrinated over a period of time. Malik in his statement also said that Mujib was filling his ears against the government on various subjects, including how the beef ban was infringing on their rights. Malik told the police that the maulana also told him that injustice was being done to their community. Malik’s confessional statement has been recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before a magistrate. The police says that Mujib was in touch with Malik for 2-3 years. Special IG, ATS, Niket Kaushik said, “The maulana is part of a bigger group. We have learnt that he was indoctrinating Malik. We want to record his statements and find out more about him.”
An ATS source further claimed that the work of indoctrination was gradual and went on for over a period of two to three years. Malik, in his statement, told the police that Mujib asked him if his parents would find something amiss if he went missing for a couple of weeks. The police strongly suspects that Mujib wanted to send Malik to Afghanistan via Bangladesh to get Al Qaeda-level arms training.
After arresting Malik, the ATS also arrested one Shoeb Ahmed Khan alias Pusad Shoeb alias Tariq Bhai (24) from Hingoli, who was out on bail after being arrested by Hyderabad police last year allegedly because he was a sympathiser of Student Islamic Movement of India (Simi). Khan was arrested as he was allegedly indoctrinating Malik and acting as a link between him and Mujib. Presently, the trio has been booked under UAPA.
ATS’ Akola unit head inspector Manish Patil said, “The maulana (26) has been remanded to police custody till November 12 and Khan’s custody has been extended till November 5. Malik is already in judicial custody. They have been booked under section 15, 16 and 18 of UAPA.”
Mujib does not have a prior criminal record and he teaches in a madrasa and is connected to a local mosque. The ATS is also making inquiries to find out if Mujib is part of a sleeper cell working for some terrorist organisation.