HYDERABAD: In a major crackdown, the National Investigation Agency (NIA, the country’s top counter-terrorist task force, carried out mulitple raids in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh against the Popular Front of India (PFI), an extremist Islami organisation, for allegedly plotting to wage war against the government.
Among the locations raided were Nizamabad, which appeared to be focus of investigations on Sunday, Nirmal and Bhainsa in Telangana and Nellore, Kadapa, Kurnool and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. About 27 PFI members were detained and being questioned in relation to inciting violence and engaging in terrorism, including disguising “terrorist training” as karate lessons, the NIA said.
However, an NIA spokesman in New Delhi said the agency had detained four persons for questioning during the searches carried out at 38 locations in Telangana and two in Andhra Pradesh.
The case was initially registered on July 4 at the Nizamabad police station and the state police arrested four persons, Abdul Kader, Sheikh Sahadulla, Mohd Imran and Mohd Abdul Mobin. The NIA re-registerd the case on August 26 to carry forward the probe.
The spokesperson said 23 places were subjected to searches at Nizamabad, followed by seven in Jagtial, four in Hyderabad, two in Nirmal and one each in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts.
According to the NIA, the accused were setting up camps to train people to conduct terrorist acts and to foster animosity between various groups based on religion.
During the raids, officials of the GST commissionerate accompanied NIA sleuths to gather information on leads regarding bank transactions and foreign currency deposits into the suspects’ accounts. The NIA said it had seized incriminating evidence, including bank account passbooks, mobile phones, and laptops from the suspects.
The NIA agents raided at least 20 suspects’ homes in Nizamabad on Sunday at around 6 a.m. and search operations were conducted. Tension gripped in Nizamabad’s Autonagar neighbourhood after suspects and their relatives staged a protest against the raids. The families of the suspects said that the law enforcement agencies had targeted a section of people by deliberately registering bogus and false cases. However, the Nizamabad police dispersed the mob from the place.
The NIA officials stated in the FIR that 26 people, including 52-year-old Abdul Khader of Autonagar in Nizamabad, had planned to wage war against the Indian government. The accused recruited members of the PFI and set up training camps for terrorist attacks as part of the criminal conspiracy.
“Abdul Khader admitted that certain PFI members had given him `6 lakh in cash and that he had built an additional floor on the roof of his home for the PFI members to use for meetings and training sessions. He also admitted organising meetings for PFI members and training young people on terrorism under the guise of conducting karate classes,” NIA officials stated in the FIR.
NIA officials served notices to suspects asking them to appear before the NIA headquarters in Hyderabad on September 19 for questioning.
Cases were filed against Abdul Khader, Mohammed Abdul Ahad, Shaik Shadullah, Shaik Afroz, Shaik Feroz Khan from Nizamabad, Shaik Ilyas Ahmed from Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh and Abdul Saleem from Jagtial.
Others who were arrested were Shaik Kasif, Mohd. Massod, Shaik Ahmed, Shaik Zubed Pasha, Shaik Yunus, Anees, Arshad, Mohammed Osman, Syed Yahiya Sameer, Mohammed Ibrahim, Shaik Mukhim, Shaik Sameer, Mohammed Ayaz, Shahid Chouse, Shaik Mobin, Mohammed Imran, Shaik Mazar Hussain, Medical shop Hameed and Moin.