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With moulvis running modules, how UP is fighting terror

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New Delhi, July 23: It was in the year 2012 that the Uttar Pradesh government led by Akhilesh Yadav contemplated dropping of charges against 15 undertrials accused in the serial blasts that rocked Lucknow, Ayodhya and Varanasi in 2007.

It was the Allahabad High Court that intervened and said that since most of them are booked under Central Acts, charges for such heinous crimes cannot be withdrawn without the approval of the Centre.

With moulvis running modules, how UP is fighting terror

This was a very dangerous move on part of the then state government considering the operatives in question were part of the dreaded Indian Mujahideen. The Indian Mujahideen one of India's most dangerous home grown outfit was strongest in Uttar Pradesh, with its primary module based in Azamgarh.

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While the threat of the Indian Mujahideen was eliminated by the Indian security agencies, there were smaller modules that continued to operate. The SIMI looked to revive itself and operated with several local modules in different parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh.

Recently, it may be recalled that in a joint operation by the UP ATS, National Investigation Agency and the Operations Cell of the Intelligence Bureau, a module of the Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam was busted in Amroha last year.

An officer with the NIA tells OneIndia that during their probe, they found that several modules of this outfit were operating in the communally sensitive areas of Uttar Pradesh. They were using some madrasas to radicalise the youth and in some cases even stock weapons. Officials found that the ISI was aiding these modules and they had set up shop in Bijnore, Sambhal, Amroha and Nagina.

Officials say that the fight against terror had taken a hit. There were curbs on raids, especially in sensitive locations. However, it was found that these curbs were being used well to the advantage of terror modules.

However once the Yogi Adityanath government took over there was a stern instruction to the officials that security shall be top priority. There was life that was breathed back into the ATS and instructions were given to go all out and ensure that these modules do not mushroom.

It was found that Amroha had some of the most dangerous modules. Known for the production of mangoes, Amroha has a Hindu population of 25.48, while the Muslims comprise 73.80 per cent of the population.

Over the years, Amroha had become a den for terror activities and in September 2018, the Delhi police had picked up two Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir operatives and they said that the weapons had been sourced from Amroha.

Amroha is shaping up to be the next Azamgarh. When the agencies were chasing the Indian Mujahideen, it was found that a bulk of the members were from Azamgarh. In fact if one traces the IM to its early days, it can be said that the outfit took shape in Azamgarh.

Azamgarh had become a hot spot for terror. Officials say the atmosphere in Azamgarh was conducive for operatives and hence they were able to carry out their activities and return there safely and hide.

In Amroha, the agencies find a similar trend. In the latest rounds of busts, it has been found that the Moulvis have been driving the modules. In one recent case relating to a Lashkar-e-Tayiba module in Haryana, it was found that funds were being channelised through hawala transactions, which a Moulvi oversaw.

Even in the raids that were conducted in Delhi and UP on Wednesday, it was found that there were two Muftis allegedly involved in the module. In Amroha it has been found that the Mosque and Madrasa networks were being used to radicalise people. This is a dangerous trend and if religious heads are getting into this actively, the problem is immense and they have plenty of followers, an IB official explained.

During the raids, the NIA had also arrested Saqib Iftekar ,26 who was working as Imam in Jama Masjid, Baksar, Uttar Pradesh. He helped the master-mind Mufti Mohd. Suhail in procuring weapons.

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In the module that was busted on Tuesday, four of the members were from Amroha. The NIA says that the one who led the module was Mufti Mohd Suhail alias Hazrath, 29 years. He is a native of Amroha and was working as Mufti in a Madrasa at Hakim Mahtab Uddin Hashmi Road, Amroha, UP. He was presently staying at Jaffrabad, Delhi, and had tasked other team members to procure arms, explosives and other accessories to prepare IED's and pipe-bombs.

The other person from Amroha to be arrested was Saeed. He ran a welding shop in the place. Raees Ahmed, also from Amroha ran a welding shop. He along with his brother Saeed had procured huge quantity of explosive material/gun powder (approx.25 kg) for preparing IED's and pipe bombs and were instrumental in fabricating a rocket launcher to carry out terrorist attacks.

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