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MP: ATS arrests Indian Mujahideen’s Faizan Sheikh, who was planning ‘lone wolf’ attacks to avenge the 2006 encounter of 8 SIMI terrorists

During interrogation, Sheikh confessed that he wanted to avenge the killings of eight Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) terrorists. His only motive was to harm the security forces and their families. He carried out a recce of security force bases in Kashmir, Pathankot, Mumbai and Delhi, fourteen times in the last three years.

Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Faizan Sheikh, a suspect of the banned terrorist organization Indian Mujahideen (IM), from Kanhar Mohalla of Khandwa and placed under five days of remand. During interrogation, he confessed that he wanted to avenge the killings of eight Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) terrorists. His only motive was to harm the security forces and their families. He carried out a recce of security force bases in Kashmir, Pathankot, Mumbai and Delhi, fourteen times in the last three years.

He further disclosed that he was planning to execute lone wolf attacks to exact revenge and also purchased pistols and cartridges. He clearly stated to the ATS authorities that he would consider himself fortunate if he was able to injure even one member of the security forces and didn’t care about being caught or killed. He even searched videos of terrorist training camps and their operation tactics most of the time on the Internet. ATS has found evidence of the same on his mobile.

Sheikh isolated himself from society for the last seven to eight months. He had stopped going to any kind of event or occasion. However, had multiple meetings with the families of the SIMI terrorists who were eliminated in an encounter in 2006. He revealed himself to be close to the terrorists. “Faizan used to post jihadi posts related to Indian Mujahideen on Facebook. He was propagating the ideology of IM/ISIS. He shared posts on the Mujahideen training camps in Pakistan, speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar (founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed), Lashkar-e-Taiba, the story of Kandahar plane hijacking, Mullah Omar’s statements and Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) on social media,” informed Dr Ashish, ATS IG (Inspector-General).

He added, “Under the leadership of Chief Minister Dr Mohan Yadav, the state has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and anti-national activities. The arrest is part of an ongoing effort to maintain heightened surveillance across Madhya Pradesh.”

On 4th July, the ATS arrived at Saluja Colony in Khandwa around 4 am and apprehended 34-year-old Faizan Sheikh, son of Hanif Sheikh. The ATS had received information about his association with Indian Mujahideen. A large quantity of jihadi literature related to IM, ISIS and other terrorist outfits has been recovered from him along with 4 mobiles, a pistol and 5 live cartridges as well as membership forms for the SIMI group. He has been booked under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Sheikh aspired to be recognised as a prominent mujahideen Indian Mujahideen’s Yasin Bhatkal and SIMI chief Abu Faisal. He was contacting local illegal arms dealers and people outside the state to acquire pistols and cartridges. The ATS is now also finding out about his other associates. An official noted, “Faizan had been meticulously planning a lone wolf attack, monitoring and tracking the movements of security force personnel and their families. His objective was to emulate terrorists like Yasin Bhatkal of Indian Mujahideen and SIMI chief Abul Fazal, aspiring to gain recognition. To execute his plan, he was also in the process of acquiring more pistols and cartridges through connections with local illegal arms dealers and individuals from outside the state.”

Chief Minister Mohan Yadav commended the police on the development and announced that the state administration has communicated with central agencies to disseminate information regarding the accused’s network. He conveyed, “We will not tolerate any such activity in Madhya Pradesh. We were able to arrest a dreaded terrorist and have also come to know of his secret plans. I am sure the police action will break the backbone of their network. We took timely action against him and thus foiled a major terror plan.” The Intelligence Bureau has also been notified by the state government of Faisal Sheikh’s arrest and it will also conduct an inquiry into the matter.

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