LUCKNOW: After a 12-hour pitched battle, suspected terrorist Mohammad Saifullah was killed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Uttar Pradesh police in the small hours of Wednesday. Saifullah had holed up in a safe house in Thakurganj area of Lucknow.
While the State police claimed that the suspect was ‘self-radicalised’, it denied having any evidence to establish any links to the Islamic State. He is also believed to be part of a module behind Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger train blast.
“Heavy arms and ammunition including eight pistols, over 600 cartridges, bomb making instruments, pellets, timers and wires were recovered from the encounter site,” said ADGP Daljit Chaudhary. Three passports, 45 grams of gold and foreign currency were also recovered from the encounter site.
Meanwhile, Saifullah’s father Sartaj called his son a traitor and refused to accept his body for final rites. Sartaj said he severed all ties with his son about two months back and had no information about his anti-national activities. Later in the night, his body was buried by the State police amid tight security.
“Whatever he did was not good. He has let me down. I would not accept his body for last rites,” he said, adding “a traitor cannot be my son”. Recalling his last conversation with his son, Sartaj says Saifullah, a commerce graduate, had called him last on Monday and informed that his visa was cleared and he was going Saudi Arabia in a few days. “He wanted to become a driver in Saudi.”
Saifullah’s elder brother Khalid spoke to him on Tuesday night on directions of ATS cops to convince him to surrender. “I cried and pleaded, explaining the repercussion of his actions and the subsequent humiliation to the entire family, but he remained unmoved,” he said. “He was only talking about seeking martyrdom.”
There were other people living in the house in Lucknow along with the suspect. However, they were not present during the time of the encounter. “Four people used to live in the house where Saifullah was holed up,” said ADGP Chaudhary. “But, several people used to visit the terror suspects. The operation stands closed now. Rest of the legal formalities will happen subsequently,” he added.
“We made all out efforts to catch the suspected terrorist alive, but unfortunately this did not materialise. We fired tear gas shells and lobbed chilly bombs to make him come out but to no avail,” said Assem Arun, IG of ATS. “The only option thus left was to storm inside the house,” he added.