The Central Crime Branch of the Bangalore police have arrested six men from the city, including an English newspaper reporter, and five from Hubli on charges of plotting a terrorist attack in Karnataka.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Director General and Inspector General of Police Lalrokhuma Pachau said the accused were plotting to assassinate prominent politicians, Hindutva leaders as well as some journalists (known for their virulent anti-minority columns). He dismissed earlier claims by police officers, who told reporters on condition of anonymity, that the Uttar Pradesh police were involved in the operation. All arrests were made on Wednesday.
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 the accused were “working for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami ” — terror organisations known to have divergent ideologies.
Among those arrested was 26-year-old Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui, a reporter who was on the higher education beat for Deccan Herald . He was arrested from his flat at Mubarak Mohalla of J. C. Nagar along with his roommates, 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 are Ubedullah Imran (24), Mohammed Sadiq Lakshkar (28), Wahid Hussain (26), Dr. Jaffar Iqbal Sholapur and Mehboob alias Baba (26).
The police claimed that the group, which was allegedly linked to an international terror network, had been under surveillance for the last four months, and was arrested just before it was about to execute its plan. The accused are also being investigated for their role in circulating SMSs and MMSs that led to panic among people from the northeast residing in the city, says the release.
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.”