Pune: A Pune-based woman, detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police on January 25 on “inputs” of being a suicide bomber on a mission to disrupt a Republic Day function in Srinagar, on Monday claimed that she was never “caught or arrested” but had herself approached the police.
Addressing a press conference with her family members on Monday, Sadiya Anwar Shaikh said that she had gone to the Valley to secure admission for a nursing course in the state. J&K DGP S P Vaid told PTI on Sunday that Shaikh had been handed over to her family by the state police.
The police, who claimed that Shaikh (18) wanted to join the ISIS, detained her on January 25 from South Kashmir and subjected her to intense questioning during which they found nothing incriminating. “I had gone to the Valley to take admission in a nursing course in the state and I was staying at a friend’s house in South Kashmir,” she told reporters.
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Shaikh said she decided to approach the police on her own after she was shocked to find that she was labelled as a “suicide bomber” by some newspapers. “It was me who, after reading the news in the newspapers, walked to the police,” Shaikh said. Shaikh said she was questionned by the police as well as various agencies. “I answered all their questions and at the end, they did not find anything incriminating against me and they released me,” she said.
Meanwhile, her family members have accused the media of publishing “defaming” media reports. Shaikh had been questioned by the Pune unit of the Maharashtra ATS in 2015 when it came to its notice that the teenager had been “radicalised” after coming in contact with ISIS supporters abroad. She was subsequently sent for a de-radicalisation programme by the ATS.
The ATS had claimed that Shaikh was planning to travel to Syria. When asked about the 2015 incident, Shaikh said that she had indeed come under the influence of the ISIS ideology through social media. “I got influenced by ISIS ideology. I was in the online contact with some groups and people. Based on that I was questioned by the ATS and de-radicalisation sessions were arranged with the help of local clergies,” she said. Shaikh said she returned to her life after de-radicalisation.
“That was successful and after that sessions, everything was fine and I even continued my college and got back to studies,” she said. Shaikh was detained after the Jammu and Kashmir police had been informed by Central security agencies that a Pune-based woman, who had been questioned on various occasions by the ATS, had moved to the Valley. he had travelled to Kashmir from Pune and had been
staying in Bijbehara as a paying guest. Subsequently, an alert naming Shaikh was issued in all districts of Jammu and Kashmir stating that she was a suicide bomber on a mission to disrupt Republic Day function in Srinagar. The note said there was a “strong input” that an 18-year-old non-Kashmiri woman could “cause a suicide bomb explosion” near or inside the Republic Day parade.