Two suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who were believed to have been behind the 2005 attack at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, have been arrested from the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya.

Nazir and Shafas were handed over by Bangladesh Rifles to the Border Security Force (BSF) after intelligence was shared about their presence in Bangladesh, official sources said.

Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said: “We’re trying to find out their antecedents and links and their activities.” The two were being questioned.

On December 28, 2005, terrorists stormed the IISc campus and opened fire from automatic weapons, killing a retired Professor of IIT-Delhi, M C Puri, and injuring four others.

Probe in Kerala

Special Correspondent reports from Kannur:

The detention of T. Nazir and Shafas Shamsuddin, both from Kannur, spells progress for a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that has been probing terror operatives in Kerala.

Nazir alias Thadiyantavide Nazir, and his brother-in-law Shafas Shamsuddin, are among five fugitives out of 23 people listed as accused in a charge sheet filed by the JIT in the Thalassery court. . That investigation was ordered following reports that four Keralites were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in an encounter with security forces. Nazir and Shafas Shamsuddin are the third and fifth accused respectively in the case.

Three other accused in the case are still at large: Ibrahim Moulavi, Sabir alias Ayub and Umar Farooque. The 23 accused include people killed in Jammu and Kashmir: Muhammad Fayas, Muhammad Fayees, both from Kannur; Abdurrahiman from Parappanangadi and Muhammad Yasin from Chakkaraparamba in Ernakulam. All the 23 are accused of working with the LeT, conspiring to wage war against India and recruiting youth for terror training.

The investigators had identified Nazir alias Umar Haji as the kingpin of the network with connections to the LeT and the Indian Mujahideen. He was termed a recluse with rabble-rousing oratorical skills. He was thought to be a key operative in a network involved in mobilising youth to be trained in Jammu and Kashmir.

A former follower of Abdul Nasir Maudany who had formed the Islamic Sevak Sangh (ISS), Nazir got involved in recruiting youth after Maudany was jailed. According to the investigators, Nazir, who had studied up to Class X, used to take classes for a band of youth, urging them to retaliate against the “persecution” of Muslims. Shafas married his wife’s sister.

The police said Nazir and Shafas fled following reports of the killing of the four Keralites in Jammu and Kashmir and the JIT investigation. An accused in the plot to kill the former Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar in 1999, Nazir is an accused in the murder of Vinod hailing from Thayyil near Kannur a few years ago.

His involvement in the Kalamassery bus burning case also came out following the arrest of Muhaammad Nawas alias Kunju from Kannur recently.

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