Mumbai

IS-inspired group influenced by Zakir Naik’s speeches: Anti-Terrorism Squad

Members of an “IS-inspired” terror group, who were arrested in January for allegedly planning a mass killing at a temple, were inspired by speeches of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, according to a charge sheet filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

They had tried to poison the maha prasad (holy food) at the temple, it said, adding that they also underwent training for making explosives and poison and participated in blast trials at a hill near the Mumbra bypass in Thane district.

The Maharashtra ATS arrested 10 members of the Ummat-E-Mohammaddiya group, which allegedly has links with the terror group IS, from Mumbra and Aurangabad in January. Thus, foiling their plans of mass-casualty attacks using poisonous chemical mixtures at large gatherings.

After a detailed investigation, the ATS filed a charge sheet, containing stunning revelations, before a Mumbai court earlier this month.

According to the charge sheet, “the accused were inspired by speeches of Dr. Naik,” against whom charges of money laundering have been filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

The ATS found several videos featuring Dr.Naik and his images on social media profiles of the accused, it said. “The group had planned a mass killing of devotees at the 400-year-old Shree Mumbreshwar Temple at Mumbra by poisoning the maha prasad there,” a senior ATS official said, quoting the charge sheet.

A spiritual event, Shreemadh Bhagwat Katha, was organised in December last year at the temple, where thousands of devotees consumed the ‘prasad’, he said.

One of the arrested accused, Talha Potrik, had tried to poison the prasad, the charge sheet says.

“The group members had also obtained information through the internet and social media about making explosives and poison and conducted blast trials in hills near the Mumbra bypass,” the ATS official said.

The ATS identified Abu Hamza as the group leader, who conducted the blast trials, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 8:00:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/is-inspired-group-influenced-by-zakir-naiks-speeches-ats/article28706043.ece

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