Lucknow: The ISIS-inspired module -- Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam—unearthed on Wednesday and which led to the arrest of 10 terror suspects in a joint operation of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) across the state and Delhi brought western UP districts in the spotlight yet again.
backed by foreign handlers iThe districts including, Meerut, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Bijnore, Hapur, Amroha, Rampur and even Bareilly have been on the radar of probe as they have proved to be a safe haven for terror modules backed by foreign handlers including Pakistan, Bangladesh and now ISIS during the last decade. Besides, youth radicalised by online jihadi literature, over a dozen and a half terror suspects associated with various outfits and 50 undercover agents and spies have been rounded up across western UP districts during the past 15 years.
However, the sources in police department attribute it to the proximity of this region to national capital, Delhi. “These terror suspects take shelter in western UP districts to escape the security agencies’ gaze,” says a senior cop.
As per sources in intelligence agencies, the terror outfits, like Jaish-e- Mohammad, Laskar-e-Taiyyaba, Hijbul Mujahideen, Indian Mujahideen, and now ISIS-inspired modules have made deep forays into western UP districts.
“That is why the suspects arrested so far from this side of Uttar Pradesh have shown larger allegiance to these terror outfits, Moreover, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence presence has also been confirmed by the arrest of spies not only from western UP but now their network has expanded to Uttarakhand also,” said a senior police official.
Notably, in September this year, a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, Achyutanand Mishra, alleged to have been “honey-trapped” by ISI over Facebook, was arrested on charges of spying by UP ATS
from Noida. Similarly, in May this year, investigation agencies had arrested a man from Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district on suspicion that he had bugged an Indian diplomat's house in Pakistan and passed on vital information to ISI while working as a domestic help till last year.
Moreover, the intelligence sources also point out that around 20 Pakistanis visiting western UP were untraceable. They came from Pakistan on some pretext and vanished, claim the agencies. Moreover, the ISI espionage ring concentrates on western UP districts as vital military installations are based here.
Second largest cantonment of the country is based in Meerut. Apart from that Hapur’s Babugarh Cant, Air Force bases of Saharanpur, and Hindon in Ghaziabad are always on the target of terror outfits and
ISI. Recently, a jawan from Meerut Cant was held passing on vital information to Pakistan.
Even Bijnore has emerged as a potential hideout of terror suspects. It can be recalled that six SIMI ultras had carried out blasts in Jatan locality of Bijnor in 2014. Last year in August, Abdullah associated with Ansarullah Bangla Team was held by UP ATS in Charthaval in Muzzafarnagar.
He was involved in preparing fake identity proofs of terrorists especially of Bangladesh and help them
get safe hideouts in India. Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is an al Qaeda inspired Islamic extremist group in Bangladesh.