LUCKNOW: Some startling facts have emerged in connection with a blast at a mosque in Kushinagar district in Gorakhpur division leading to the arrest of four people including a Muslim cleric on Wednesday.
The blast in the mosque situated in Bairagi Patti village of the district had taken place on Monday afternoon. It was strong enough to rip apart doors and windows in the mosque. However, the cleric of the mosque had initially claimed it was an explosion in the battery of an inverter.
Taking no chances, the Gorakhpur unit UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), local police, intelligence agencies and Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) teams conducted a probe into the blast and found a big haul of explosives stored inside the mosque. Subsequently, four persons -- Maulana Azeemuddin alias Azeem, a native of West Bengal, Izhar Ansari, Aashik Ansari and Javed Ansari -- were arrested by the local police and sent to jail on Wednesday.
During the interrogation, Maulana Azeemuddin alias Azeem allegedly admitted that he and some other youths had kept the explosives weighing around 10-12 kg in the mosque. It was brought to be hoarded in the mosque from outside Kushinagar in April this year, the cleric allegedly admitted.
The other three persons arrested also revealed that a man identified as Haji Kutubuddin, who is associated with the mosque, had asked them to store the explosives as it was meant for a bigger purpose.
However, the police department is tight-lipped over the entire issue. In the incident, the complicity of Haji Kutubuddin’s grandson – Ashfaq Alam – has also surfaced. Ashfaq and his wife are employed in the health department of the Army and are posted in Hyderabad.
At the time of blast on Monday, Ashfaq Alam was also present in the village. As per the sources, immediately after the blast, Ashfaq got the spot cleaned to remove the evidence from the site of the incident. A police team has been despatched to nab Ashfaq who, the probe agencies feel, might have played a role in bringing the explosives to the mosque.
The mosque is a decade old and Haji Kutubuddin, who retired as a clerk in the Public Works Department, had called Maulana Azeemuddin from West Bengal some five years ago. The Maulana was reportedly paid a monthly remuneration of Rs 6000 by the mosque management.