The police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have arrested two terror suspects linked to Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an al Qaeda-affiliated jihad outfit, local media reports say.
One of the arrested suspects — appropriately named “Saddam,” wanted to recruit Muslims “who feel that they have been tortured in India, he wanted to implement Sharia law on them so that India can be turned into an Islamic nation,” New Delhi-based India TV reported July 4.
His accomplice, a native of Kashmir, wanted to avenge the killing of a commander belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group who was eliminated by the Indian military five years ago, media reports suggest.
The terrorist group Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, which draws inspiration from Mohammad’s Hadith, or sayings that prophesy a coming Muslim conquest of Hindu-majority India though jihad warfare, is affiliated to al Qaeda groups that are based in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
“Gonda man among 2 held, ATS says ‘linked with al-Qaeda outfit,’” Indian Express, July 3, 2023:
The UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Sunday said that they have arrested two men allegedly associated with terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an auxiliary unit of al-Qaeda Sunday, following intelligence inputs. The accused were identified as Saddam Sheikh (38) and Rizwan Khan (23).
A statement issued by the ATS said that Saddam, a native of Gonda district, used to work as a driver in a private company in Bengaluru. “During social media monitoring and electronic surveillance, it surfaced that Saddam Sheikh was quite active on social media and posted radical things in favour of terror outfits. He was called to the ATS office for questioning after being served a notice. He himself accepted that he is influenced by Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind and Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani… He said he wanted to become a mujahid,” said the statement.
“Saddam also said that terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Zakir Musa, Riyaz Naikoo, Naved Jatt and Sameer Tiger were his idols. In his phone, photos and videos related to these terrorists have also been recovered,” said the statement.
Another statement by the ATS said that another accused Rizwan Khan a native of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested after it was found that “he was spreading terrorist propaganda on social media platforms”.
It said that Rizwan was active on social media and sharing “radical content and taking on board similar minded people for his operations”. He was working at a meat unit in UP’s Unnao. “He was called to the ATS office for questioning after being served a notice… He accepted posting radical content on social media and that guns and militants attract him. He also wanted to spread jihad, and bring about rule under the Islamic law and was influenced by Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind,” said the statement.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has a Muslim population of around 40 million. While Islamic terrorism is largely been limited to the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, Islamic political groups such as “All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen” (AIMIM) are gaining ground in the state.