They were allegedly plotting to assassinate BJP politicians, Hindutva leaders and journalists
The Central Crime Branch of the Bangalore police arrested six men from the city, including an English newspaper reporter, and five from Hubli on Wednesday on charges of plotting a terrorist attack in the State.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the Director General and Inspector General of Police Lalrokhuma Pachau said that the accused were plotting to assassinate prominent politicians, Hindutva leaders as well as some journalists. He dismissed earlier claims by police officers, who told reporters on the condition of anonymity, that the Uttar Pradesh police was involved in the operation.
In a release, the police claimed that they recovered a 7.65 mm pistol and seven live rounds from those arrested in Bangalore. The police said that the accused were "working for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-jihad-al-islami".
Among those arrested was 26-year-old Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui a reporter who covered the higher education beat for the English daily Deccan Herald. He was arrested on Wednesday from his flat in Mubarak Mohalla of J.C Nagar along with his roommates who have been identified as MCA student Shoaib Ahmed Mirza, his brother and DRDO junior scientist Aijaz Ahmed Mirza (26), Abdullah Hakim Jamadar (25), Mohammed Yusuf Nalband (28), BCA graduate and salesman Riyaz Ahmed Byahatti (28).
Those arrested from Hubli have been identified as Ubedullah Imran (24), Mohammed Sadiq Lakshkar (28), Wahid Hussain (26) and Dr. Jaffar Iqbal Sholapur.
Police claimed that the group, which was allegedly linked to an international terror network, was under surveillance for the last four months. They were arrested just before they were to execute their plan, police claimed. The release also said that the accused are being investigated for their role in circulating SMSs and MMSs that led to panic among the city’s residents from northeast.
However, contesting police claims, A. M. Mirza, father of Shoaib and Aijaz Ahmed Mirza, said his sons had been framed as part of a “larger conspiracy.”
Clarification: 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