NIA raids allegedly Al Qaeda operatives in India

In a significant breakthrough, the National Investigation Agency, (NIA) conducted searches and raids at Ernakulam (Kerala) and Murshidabad (West Bengal) in the wee hours of Saturday and arrested nine suspected terrorists for their alleged association with Pakistan-sponsored module of the Al-Qaeda in the country. Following the arrests, the agency claimed to have recovered a large quantity of “incriminating materials”, including digital devices, documents, jihadi literature, sharp weapons, country-made firearms, a locally fabricated body armor, articles and literature used for making home-made explosive devices were seized from their possession, the NIA claimed. Apart from this, a map marking out vital installations in Delhi was also recovered, which were reportedly among their targets.

According to the NIA officer, the agency had registered a case in this regard on 11 September, after it learnt about an active inter-state module of al Qaeda operatives planning a conspiracy.

“Following the leads, early Saturday morning, NIA conducted simultaneous raids at several locations at Ernakulam and Murshidabad and arrested these nine terrorists associated with Pakistan-sponsored module of al Qaeda, foiling their plan to carry out terror attacks,” an NIA spokesperson said.

All nine belong to Murshidabad district. Seven of them were either daily wage laborer’s or in menial jobs, while two were persuing their graduation at a Murshidabad college. Perumbavoor in Ernakulam, is a major migrant hub in Kerala from where two of the men were held. While Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen were arrested from Kerala, Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman were nabbed from West Bengal.

According to a source in the NIA, the accused were raising funds for logistics required for the attacks, and also planned to visit Delhi to procure arms, ammunition and explosives. These men were also planning to go to Kashmir for weapons delivery, NIA sources said.

“This inter-state module of al Qaeda, supported by Pakistan, was planning to undertake terrorist attacks at vital installations,” an NIA officer said.

A senior NIA official said the agency got a tip-off about an inter-state module of Al-Qaeda the operatives at various locations in India, including West-Bengal and Kerala. “Accordingly, the NIA registered a case and initiated investigation,” the official said, adding that the raids were part of this exercise.

According to the NIA officials, crackers were being attempted to be converted into an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and the NIA recovered switches and batteries from Abu Sufiyan’s house during the raids.

“For this purpose, the module was actively indulging in fundraising and a few members of the gang were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition. These arrests have pre-empted possible terrorist attacks in various parts of the country,” the official said, adding that the arrested terrorists will be presented before the concerned special courts in Kerala and West Bengal for police custody and further investigation.

“The NIA had learnt about an inter-state module of al-Qaeda operatives at various locations in India including West Bengal and Kerala. The group was planning to undertake terrorist attacks at vital installations in India with an aim to kill people and strike terror,” the agency said in a statement.

By Karishma Gwalani

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