The 11 persons arrested by the Bangalore police on Wednesday on the charge of plotting terror strikes in Karnataka, were remanded in police custody for 14 days by a judicial magistrate here on Thursday. Defence Research and Development Organisation, where suspect Aijaz Ahmed Mirza was employed as a junior research fellow, issued a release on Friday, saying Mirza “was not involved in any sensitive work and, as such, no sensitive/classified information has been compromised.”
“Disciplinary action as per Government of India rules is being taken [against Aijaz],” it said adding Mirza’s antecedents were verified before he was taken in.
Even as the police remained tight-lipped, heads of various Muslim organisations, at a press conference, expressed concern at the developments. Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) State president Ashfaq Ahmed said journalist Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui was a listed member of the SIO and the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Jamaat leader Moulana Wahiduddin Khan said, “If those arrested are found guilty, they should be punished by all means.” But he called for more transparency on the part of the police. “Why is it that terrorists from a certain community are always arrested when elections are near,” he asked.
At another press conference, Muthi-ur-Rahman’s brother Ata-ur-Rahman said: “My heart says my brother is innocent.” Meanwhile, the Central Crime Branch of Bangalore police arrested Ubed-ul-Rahman, an MBA student, in Hyderabad.
In a report from Bangalore published in the issue of August 31, headlined “Journalist among 11 arrested for ‘plotting terror in Karnataka’,” the description of some journalists who were purportedly targeted by the alleged plotters as ones “known for their virulent anti-minority columns” was unfair and unwarranted, and escaped gatekeeping mechanisms that are in place to keep such editorialising comments out of the news columns of this newspaper. That description, as well as the loose and imprecise reference to the “divergent ideologies” of two terrorist organisations are regretted and may be deemed as withdrawn. — The Editor