BHUBANESWAR: Abdul Rehman Kataki has firmly put Odisha under terror scanner. A Maulvi, known for his inflammatory speeches and radical views, the 37-year-old was on IB radar for the last one year. Till he was held for being a suspected Al Qaeda associate on Wednesday.
The State Police too was aware of Abdul Rehman’s radical ideologies but had its hands tied since he was not flagged for any alarming activities. Barring one criminal case in 2011, he was not involved in any anti-national or disturbing activities though his actions outside the State had caught the notice of national intelligence agencies.
On February 18, 2011, he was arrested for trespassing into a mosque under Cuttack’s Cantonment Police limits and creating disturbance. He was booked under Sections 448/293/323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code and chargesheeted too.
He used to frequent Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal too. In the last couple of years, he made several trips to Jharkhand where he was under the scanner of the neighbouring State’s Police. He was detained for a provocative speech last month.
If sources are to be believed, he had also visited a North Eastern State where his radical speeches and views had brought him under scanner.
In Odisha, though, he was lying low. The madrasa in Keruan village in Tangi is a two-room building where about 85 students studied. Abdul Rehman was adding two more thatched rooms with polythene sheets for roof. The students, in the age-group of six to 20 years, were packed in the two rooms. The school did not have any name as such and had just ‘madrasa’ inscribed on the wall.
“It was funded by Abdul Rehman himself and did not receive any grant from the State Government. The madrasa did not follow any curriculum of the Board for Secondary Education as students were taught only Quran and Islamic religion. There are about four other teachers apart from the 37-year-old,” sources said. Since the madrasa was located in a Muslim-dominated colony, it received little attention of outsiders.
While his brother Tahiyar Ali was arrested in 2001 for alleged connection with the American Centre attack at Kolkata, he has not been convicted. Police Commissioner Dr RP Sharma said police will keep a tab on the madrasa as well as on Paschimakachha village where Abdul Rehman belongs to. The 37-year-old is married and has three children.