8 Youths, 1 Minor Held by ATS on Alleged Charges of ISIS Links
The ATS have claimed to possess strong evidence against the 9 suspects, some of whom are related.
An operation conducted by anti-terror squads early on Wednesday, 23 January, in the Mumbra-Kausa township and in Thane, led to the detention of nine youths, including a minor, on alleged charges of having been radicalised and aligned to the extremist Islamic State (IS) ideology.
Confirming the news to The Times of India, Additional Director General (ATS) Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “We have detained nine men and are questioning them.”
Kulkarni also said that the ATS had in their possession strong evidence against the nine youths detained, and that some of them were known to each other.
The ATS started the crackdown late at night on Monday, 21 January, first picking up four of the youths – all between the ages of 18 and 24 – from their homes spanning between the Almas colony Kausa and Amrut Nagar in Mumbra, all within the Thane district, the report added.
Out of these four detained youths, three are close relatives, two have a background in engineering and one was pursuing a degree in BCom, the ATS told the newspaper.
The four suspects, the ATS claimed, were all found to be followers of the Ahl-e-Hadith school of thought.
In Aurangabad, ATS rounded up five people from different parts of the city around 3 am on Tuesday, 22 January. One of them was a 23-year-old suspect, who was found to be living alone and who was pursuing an undergraduate degree in a local city college. The team seized his phones, laptops and other items, the report added.
The team also arrested the 23-year-old youth’s 30-year-old brother-in-law, and the latter’s younger brother, who is 17, from one district.
They also detained a 26-year-old man, the brother-in-law of the two brothers – who are 30 and 17 – from another district, the report added. The possessions of all three relatives were also seized.
The teams had managed to track down the suspects following a tip-off and electronic surveillance. Following the arrests, the teams claimed that the prime suspect had taken on the role of delivering religious sermons to the youths, and under that guise, brainwashed them into accepting and endorsing extremist philosophy, the report added.
Speaking to the newspaper, the brother of one of the youths arrested said that his family had warned him not to associate with the radicaliser.
“My brother is a very soft-spoken person and is a qualified engineer. We were told he was detained because of his association with a person from Aurangabad. The family had told him to snap ties with this man. I hope he is not in any trouble as he is a family person and could have been radicalised,” he said.
The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code's Section 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Bombay Police Act, PTI reported.
(With inputs from The Times of India)
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