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Bihar: ATS arrests PFI’s master trainer Yakub from a mosque in Motihari, had pledged to re-erect Babri Masjid in Ram Janambhoomi

Sultan Usman Khan alias Yakub used to run a training camp in Chakia, which was discovered during the investigation, and as a result, the agencies began searching for him

In a major breakthrough for the security agencies, Sultan Usman Khan, alias Yakub, a master trainer for the Popular Front of India (PFI) and an active member of the jihadi organisation who was playing hide-and-seek with the police for years, has been taken into custody by Patna Anti-Terrorist Squad and the local police in a successful joint operation. He was arrested on the evening of 18 July (Tuesday) from a mosque in Bansghat Gawandra of the Chakia police station area.

He is reported to have organised a major gang for his banned outfit under the pretext of self-defence of youths in the border regions of Nepal, including North Bihar and prepared them for anti-national activities. He is being interrogated at an undisclosed location.

Multiple investigative entities, including National Investigation Agency and Anti-Terrorist Squad, were looking for the accused. Now, police are conducting raids on the information provided by him.

His name first appeared in the Phulwari Sharif terror module where members of PFI were apprehended by the police and security agencies for trying to wage war against the country. The Ghazwa-e-Hind group which had links to Pakistan and Bangladesh was created to radicalise Muslims in the name of religion and glorify Islamic terrorism. They wanted to indoctrinate Muslims to revolt against the Indian state.

He used to run a training camp in Chakia, which was discovered during the investigation, and as a result, the agencies began searching for him. However, he was successful in evading capture by dodging the law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, ATS learned received secret information that he is present in Chakia. They visited Motihari Superintended of Police Kantesh Kumar Mishra on Tuesday evening as soon as the information had been obtained, and a search was then carried out alongside Chakia Police Station in-charge Dhananjay Kumar.

Yakub had made highly inflammatory comments regarding the Shaligram (non-anthropomorphic representation of Lord Vishnu in the Hindu religion) stones that Nepal had dispatched to India for the construction of idols of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita expected to be placed in the main temple complex of the under-construction Ram Mandir.

He had vowed to rebuild the disputed structure, also known as Babri Masjid, in the Ram Janambhoomi area. The hunt for Yakub intensified after that, but he kept eluding the police team and avoided being arrested for a long time.

Phulwari Sharif terror module

The NIA arrested Irshad alias Mohammad Belal from Chakia, Tanveer Raza alias Barkati and Mohammad Abid alias Aryan from Bahadurpur five month ago in connection with the Phulwari Sharif case. The former was accused of conspiring to disturb communal harmony. He had also taken physical training at a PFI facility in Ahmed Palace.

On the other hand Barkati and Aryan arranged weapons for the planned target killings of individuals in East Champaran and survillance was also conducted for this purpose. They also supplied firearms and ammunition to Yakub.

The PFI’s terror module came to light in Phulwari Sharif in Patna last year in the month of June 2022. A document that projected the establishment of an Islamic state by 2047 was found there. The Motihari neighbourhood in Chakia has been regularly in the news ever since. The NIA team has already travelled to Chakia four times for conducting an inquiry into the case.

Reyaz Mawarif, a citizen of Chakia’s Kunawa village, was appointed as PFI’s state secretary. Following the development, on 28 July of last year, the NIA team searched his place of residence and his laptop, tab, diary, poster etc. were seized from there and he is fleeing ever since.

Kunawa hamlet was raided by the NIA on 4 February, 2023 and the team had taken a minor boy for questioning with them, however, he was released the very next day. On the 20th of the same month, a thorough investigation was carried out at Gandhi Maidan in Chakia after the former learned of a PFI training establsihment there.

At that time, the then state president of the radical outfit, Yakub had set up a seven-day training center of PFI at Gandhi Maidan. Viral footages that appeared on social media showed him instructing the young recruits and teaching them about firearms.

PFI Ban

On 22 September 2022, NIA with other probe agencies conducted a large-scale midnight operation termed “Operation Octopus” in the premises of the organization across the country, on charges of terror-funding and money laundering. The raid resulted in the arrest of at least 100 PFI leaders and activists.

On 28 September of last year, the Government of India declared PFI as “unlawful association” and temporarily outlawed the group for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The government reasoned that the organisation was “prejudicial to the integrity, sovereignty and security of the country” and citied the latter’s close connections with terror oufits like Students Islamic Movement of India, Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as Islamic State.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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