LUCKNOW: The Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday carried out a commando operation against a suspected terrorist, allegedly belonging to the Khurasa module of the Islamic State, who was holed up inside a house in Thakurganj area of Lucknow. The suspect, Mohammad
Saifullah, was allegedly involved in the Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger train blast that happened on Tuesday morning. The six-hour long encounter was still continuing when this paper went to print.
Two suspects Imraan and Faizaan were held in Unnao district and Fakre Alam was nabbed from Etawah in connection to this case. The three of them have been brought to Lucknow for interrogation. "The information about Mohammad Saifullah's location was revealed by five other persons who were arrested in Madhya Pradesh in connection with the Ujjain train blast," said police sources.
"We initially suspected only one person to have been present in the building. But on drilling the roof, we found two persons were holed up in the room," said Additonal Director General (Law & Order) Daljeet Chaudhary.
"As the commandos tried to enter the house, which is his rented accommodation, Saifullah locked himself inside one of the rooms."
Unaware of the number of suspects and the kind of fire power they had, police used chilli grenades and tear gas shells to smoke out the occupants. “However, the suspect then opened fire at the commandos,” said ATS IG Arun Aseem, who was leading the operation, adding the security personnel retaliated to the gun fire.
Meanwhile, the police cordoned off houses and adjacent buildings and moved residents to safety. "The commandos are drilling a hole in the roof to enter the room," said ADGP Chaudhary, adding the forces were trying their best to capture the suspect alive.
Police sources said that the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also monitoring the situation and has offered the Centre's support. The development comes just hours ahead of the final phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Alerts have been issued to sensitive areas including Ayodhya and Faizabad and neighbouring districts.