All three ISIS suspects arrested had engineering degrees, radicalised by clerics

The most wanted among them, Shahnawaz Alam, completed BTech in Mining Engineering in 2016. After graduating, Shahnawaz came to Delhi in November 2016 and started preparing for SSC examination.
Shahnawaz Alam.
Shahnawaz Alam.

NEW DELHI:  All three suspected ISIS terrorists arrested on Monday were academically highly qualified, but they chose a way of life which ultimately landed them behind bars. The most wanted among them, Shahnawaz Alam (31) was born in a simple middle-class family in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.

His father, a government school teacher, ensured the best education for his son, unaware of the fact that Shahnawaz was getting radicalised along the way. Shahnawaz had married one Basanti Patel in 2021 in Aligarh, who converted to Islam.

According to police officials, Shahnawaz completed his school from his native place and moved to Kota for AIEEE coaching, like any other normal student. “He is an intelligent man, with a technological bent of mind,” a Delhi Police official told this newspaper.

After getting coaching at Kota, Shahnawaz qualified for the All India Engineering Entrance Examination and joined a reputed college -- NIT Visveswaraya, Nagpur -- from where he completed BTech in Mining Engineering in 2016. After graduating, Shahnawaz came to Delhi in November, 2016 and started preparing for SSC examination.

“He used to go to listen to Hizb ut-Tahrir lectures at Shaheen Bagh. This was the time when Shahnawaz decided to leave HuT as he was influenced by the ideology of ISIS,” the official said. The second suspected ISIS operative Md. Arshad was born in Garhwa, Jharkhand, in a middle-class family. His father was also a government school teacher.

Arshad pursued his studies at Aligarh Muslim University and did BTech. in Mechanical Engineering. “Thereafter, he moved to Delhi and studied at Jamia Millia University and completed his MBA,” the official said. Arshad was currently pursuing PhD from Jamia Millia University in Islamic Principles in Management.

Besides his academic pursuits, he worked as a Physics teacher at Orchid Institute, Jamia Nagar, Delhi. The third operative Md. Rizwan Ashraf was born at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in a middle-class family. He pursued his preliminary education at Noorul Huda English Medium School in Fatehpur City, Jamia tul Falah, Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and completed Alimiyat in Arabic in 2009. Ashraf was also an engineer and completed his BTech in Information Technology from a college in Noida in 2017. After completing B.Tech, he returned to Prayagraj and got married.

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