NEW DELHI: Four young men have been arrested from Uttarakhand for alleged links to ISIS. The men, who had been under surveillance for visiting ISIS propagandist sites and were allegedly planning to attack the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh, trains headed there, as well as strategic locations in the national capital, said senior police officer Arvind Deep to news agency PTI.
He warned the arrested men were part of a bigger group and said, “The national capital faces threat until the entire module is busted.”
One of the men, Akhlaq ur-Rehman, who was arrested as he left an examination centre, has been questioned about the recent terror attack at the Pathankot air force base, where, earlier this month, even military personnel were killed by terrorists from Pakistan.
At a recent meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, officials concluded there is a “very real” ISIS threat for Republic Day, when French President Francois Hollande will officiate as Chief Guest at the huge parade in the capital.
The four men in Uttarakhand were arrested yesterday by the Delhi Police. They had reportedly been in regular touch on the phone with a contact in Syria, and had been using websites to study how to assemble a bomb. Police sources tell NDTV they belonged to a breakaway faction of the banned terror group, the Indian Mujahideen.
This faction has in the past been held responsible for calling for the assassination last year of Asif Ibrahim, who then headed the Intelligence Bureau. They have also, sources said, tried to target Asif Ibrahim, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Special Envoy on Terrorism. Most recently, sources said, the group was being trained to attack the huge Kumbh mela, where lakhs of Hindu devotees gather in Hardiwar.