Politics begins over UP terror plot as Akhilesh, Mayawati raise doubt over timing of arrests

Remarks by two former CMs over the arrests of the two men by the UP Police’s ATS have kicked up a row in the state, where assembly polls are slated early next year.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati

LUCKNOW: Politics has started in Uttar Pradesh over Sunday’s arrest of two alleged al-Qaeda operatives from Lucknow. 

Remarks by two former CMs -- Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati -- over the arrests of the two men by the UP Police’s anti-terror squad (UP ATS) have kicked up a row in the state, where assembly polls are slated early next year.

Just when the ATS search operation was underway in two separate parts of Lucknow on Sunday, Yadav was questioned by journalists about the state government and police claims of having foiled a major terror plot. He replied, “Mai Uttar Pradesh ki Police aur khaaskar BJP ki sarkar par bharosa nahi kar sakta (I don’t believe UP Police and particularly the BJP government in the state).”

A day later, the BSP president Mayawati on Monday tweeted questioning the timing of the arrests. “If the UP Police's claim of the two arrested men being linked to al-Qaeda is true, then it’s a serious issue and suitable action is needed. But no politics should be done behind the action as is being apprehended. As the action has happened when the assembly elections are close, suspicion is bound to arise in minds. If there is the truth behind the action and police claims, then how was the police was ignorant about it for so long -- these questions are being asked by people, and hence the government shouldn’t take any action which will lead to restlessness among people.”

Ex-UP DGP and BJP Rajya Sabha member Brij Lal reacted sharply to the SP chief’s remarks. “I can understand Akhilesh Yadav’s pain which is arising out of the vote bank politics that has always compelled his party to support the Jihadis. I still remember that while being posted as SSP Meerut in 1993, there was an attack on a Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) picket on Republic Day, when for the first time RDX and Chinese grenades were used in UP, killing a PAC havaldar. But after Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) came to power, it’s well known how those arrested and charge-sheeted in that case were saved in 1994. Politics shouldn’t be played on this issue by anyone, as it will adversely affect the morale of our police force,” the former IPS officer-turned-politician said.

Meanwhile, the two alleged al-Qaeda operatives -- Mihnaz Ahmad and Masiruddin -- who were arrested by the UP ATS from Lucknow’s Kakori and Mandiyaon areas on Sunday were produced before a special court in the state capital on Monday. The court subsequently sent the duo into ATS custody for 14 days.

Simultaneously, the ATS along with the local police force has been conducting search operations in various other districts, particularly in Kanpur and West UP. According to informed sources, three to four men are being questioned in Kanpur over their possible links with the alleged UP module of the global terror outfit busted on Sunday. The arrested men are believed to have sourced the arms and explosives from Kanpur only.

According to police sources, the busted terror module, which has a network across UP, had planned serial blasts and lone wolf-human bomb attacks across UP before Independence Day, particularly in Lucknow and Agra along with religious places such as Ayodhya, Varanasi, and Mathura. Several maps and details of recce done by the arrested men and their aides in Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, and Varanasi have been seized.

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