He surveyed vital installations such as the ISRO and important business spots
Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Ajay Tomar said here on Sunday that Bashir, arrested from the national highway near Anand, came here from Srinagar on February 20, apparently to spot “terror talents” who would be willing to go for training in Pakistan and establish the terror network in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat.
Mr. Tomar said the 32-year-old Bashir was closely working with the Hizb's top militants based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Bilal Shera, as well as with General Abdulla of the PoK-based Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen. Bashir maintained his links with Bilal and his other Pakistan “handlers” through mobile phones and e-mails even after he came here.
“Police have recovered three mobile phones, four SIM cards, e-mail addresses and objectionable documents from him,” Mr. Tomar said.
Bashir surveyed vital installations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), important business spots on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway on the posh outskirts of Ahmedabad, and several other important and usually-crowded spots such as the Fun Republic, Kankaria Lake, Gujarat Science City, Lal Darwaja, and the Law Garden.
The famous Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, which suffered a terrorist attack in 2002, was also among his targets, Mr. Tomar said. He believed that Bilal and Bashir had come for some ‘action' in Gujarat. “May be we have averted some big terror strike in the State with this arrest,” Mr. Tomar said.
Bashir would generally pick up poor Muslim youths with the promise of helping them set up business establishments or other means of living in PoK and simultaneously inject fundamentalist ideologies into them. He was helped and financed in this by Shera, who paid him a fixed amount per “recruit.”
Mr. Tomar said Bilal had trained more than 3,000 youths in handling explosives. He travelled to PoK in 2006 on a valid passport and met Shera and went back to Pakistan in 2008 with a recruit named Arif Gilkar, who was trained there.
Bashir himself was arrested by the J&K police in 2008 in an explosive case and after being released on bail, he joined the Srinagar-based Kimaya Foundation as a social worker which was used by him as a cover to indulge in his main activity to build up the terror network.
His job as a camp assistant in the Foundation, which carries out surgical operations for cleft lips, also helped him to come in contact with many people as it nine centres across the country, including the one in Ahmedabad, where he was sent for training.
Mr. Tomar, however, refused to divulge any details about Bashir's activities here.
Bashir was produced before the Anand court on Sunday and remanded to police custody for 14 days.