The Uttar Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), in a major operation, on Sunday arrested two alleged terrorists, linked to Al Qaeda, from Kakori on the outskirts of Lucknow. The two alleged ultras were reportedly hiding in a house in Kakori area.
UP ATS IG G.K. Goswami, who led the seven-hour operation, told reporters that the suspects were planning serial blasts in the state capital and other cities in the coming days. He said that arms, as well as live bombs including pressure cooker bombs, detonators and 6 to 7 kg of explosives had been recovered from the house. A bomb disposal squad was summoned to the site and nearby houses were evacuated. The ATS IG claimed that the suspects had links with Kashmir also.
Briefing reporters, ADG, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said that the arrested persons had been identified as Minhaz Ansari, 32, and Maseeruddin, 50. He said that based on information gathered from initial interrogation, raids were being conducted at various places to arrest their accomplices. However, he refused to divulge the source that tipped them off about the terror plan.
The ADG said that the arrested persons were members of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a Kashmiri wing of Al Qaeda that is active in Jammu and Kashmir. The outfit was formerly led by Zakir Rashid Bhat who was eliminated by security forces. He said that their handler was Umar Halmandi from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, who had radicalized the two. The ATS team had received a tip-off about their presence and had been tracking them since the past one week. A team led by IG ATS had closed in on their location and raided their houses.
'Don't trust Uttar Pradesh Police': Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said that he has no trust in the Uttar Pradesh police and the government on the alleged terror crackdown in Kakori. "I cannot trust the UP police and especially the BJP government," Akhilesh Yadav told reporters on Sunday. However, his party has alleged that an edited clip is being circulated to create a wrong impression.
Mayawati questions timing of arrests
BSP supremo Mayawati raised questions on Monday on the Uttar Pradesh police's claim of arresting two Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the state capital, saying such an action ahead of Assembly polls leads to doubts in the minds of people.
"If the UP police's claims of busting a terrorist conspiracy in Lucknow and the arrest of two people having links with Al Qaeda are right, then it is a very serious matter and appropriate action should be taken, but no politics should be done in its garb, as such an apprehension has been expressed," she tweeted in Hindi.
"This type of action only when the UP Assembly elections are approaching creates doubts in the minds of the people. If there is any truth behind this action, then why were the police oblivious (to such activities) for so long? "This is the question being asked by the people. Therefore, the government should not take any action which increases unrest among the people," she said in another tweet.
BJP attacks Akhilesh:
BJP's state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh asked whether the security of the country was important for the Samajwadi Party chief or the politics of appeasement.
"For which country are you batting. This question is in everyone's mind today," Singh said on Twitter with a video of Yadav's remarks. "Instead of taking pride in this success, the former chief minister has humiliated the Uttar Pradesh Police by raising questions. Akhileshji should tell whether the security of the country is important for him or the politics of appeasement," he tweeted.
BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya wrote, "Akhilesh Yadav first had doubts about the vaccine, now says can't trust Uttar Pradesh police's action against terrorists. If he does not trust anybody, neither the state nor the administration, then why does he want to become Chief Minister? Let him sit at home."
Security strengthened in Mathura
Security has been beefed up in Mathura following the arrest of two operatives of the Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Ghazwatul Hind in Lucknow, police said on Monday.
The Mathura Police have beefed up security at all important places including Shri Krishna Janmasthan and Thakur Banke Bihari Temple of Vrindavan, a senior officer said.
"The security arrangements at all important places are being reviewed and efforts are being made to ensure that there is no lapse of any kind anywhere. The security at all important places, including Shri Krishna Janmasthan complex, and oil refineries has been increased," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gaurav Grover said.
He said, a team of National Security Guards (NSG) closely inspected the security arrangements of Thakur Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan.
Special police teams are also monitoring the movement of people on the Yamuna Expressway, Agra-Delhi Highway, as well as the towns of Vrindavan, Govardhan, and Barsana, police said.
Bihar Police issues alert in state
The Bihar State Police Headquarters on Sunday issued an alert in all districts and railway stations after two terrorists linked with Al Qaeda were arrested in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow.
"Bihar State Police Headquarters issues alert in all districts and railway stations after two al-Qaeda terrorists were arrested in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow," the Special Branch of Bihar Police and CID said. "All sensitive and state border area authorities have been asked to remain alert," it said.
(With input from agencies)