Nanded bristles at terror tag
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Nanded, a Maharashtra district bordering Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, has come under the terror scanner once again with the arrest of five of its youths.
The police say they have evidence of their radical activities and claim to have recovered arms from them. Their families and neighbours say they have been falsely implicated.
Mohammed Akram, Mohammed Ilyas, Mohammed Sadiq, Mohammed Mujameel and Mohammed Irfan, all of Nanded town and in their twenties, are among the 18 arrested from the three states Nanded connects for an alleged terror plot to kill Hindu leaders and journalists.
Akram and Ilyas are brothers in a family of fruit vendors, though Akram had gone abroad over a year earlier, apparently on a driving job, and never returned home. Sadiq is a chemistry graduate studying for an M Sc and teaching local schoolchildren. Mujameel is a milk vendor and Irfan a vehicle battery repairman.
Sadiq's father Mohd Farookh cites his son's education to stress his innocence. Both parents of the chemistry graduate are retired schoolteachers. Of the others, three are school dropouts while the fourth cleared class XII. "Sadiq has no links with the others. They are less educated than he is," says Farookh. "He has been falsely implicated. He wanted to be a lecturer and tutored schoolchildren in our area."
Sadiq was reportedly picked up by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad from Nanded on August 30 and later arrested along with Ilyas, Irfan and Mujameel in Nanded itself. The ATS claimed to have seized two foreign-made pistols and 14 live cartridges from these four.
Akram, who is Ilyas's brother, was arrested by the Karnataka police in Bangalore on September 2 for alleged links with LeT and HuJI. Police say they seized a foreign-made revolver and 16 live cartridges from him.
The four arrested in Nanded have been charged under the Arms Act but a police officer said that based on evidence collected they would be booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act too. The four are in police custody for seven days that started September 1. Investigators say the firearms seized from these four are similar to those found with Akram, who may have supplied these with the objective of attacking certain targets during the Ganesh festival.
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