Gujarat ATS arrests two home-grown suspected terrorists
Ahmedabad, Feb 26 (IANS) The Anti-Terrorists Squad of Gujarat Police on Sunday said it had arrested two brothers who, it claimed, were home-grown terrorists believed to be working for Pakistan’s ISI.
Police said as per the initial information, accused Waseem Ramodiya and Naeem Ramodiya were preparing for a terror strike at a temple atop a hill in Chotila in Surendranagar district, 55 km from Rajkot.
The ATS said 98 gm gunpowder, two face masks, battery used for making bombs and about a dozen wicks made of jute thread were seized from the accused, apart from eight issues of Islamic State magazine “Dabik”, believed to be the organisation’s mouthpiece.
Stored on two seized laptops and mobile phones were techniques to make explosive devices and guerrilla warfare — as well as lone-wolf attack — tactics, the ATS said adding that other “objectionable literature” was found stored on the computers.
ATS Deputy Superintendent of Police K.K. Patel said: “Acting on specific information, the Gujarat ATS team picked up the two suspected terrorists with IS links.”
He said the two brothers were under ATS surveillance for the last one-and-half years after it was found that they were allegedly in touch with the IS through Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Patel said police decided on Saturday night to arrest the two after they came to know that they planned to strike “in a day or two” at the Chotila temple where thousands of devotees visit daily.
The famous Somnath and Dwarkadhish temples in the Saurashtra region were also on their radar and the accused had already done a recce of the two famous Hindu pilgrimage spots.
Two teams of ATS arrested Waseem from near Rajkot while Naeem was arrested in Bhavnagar past midnight. The police said Waseem’s wife too was involved in the IS network.
A police official said Waseem had left studies for Masters in Computer Applications course to “do something big for Islam”.
He said the two brothers came in contact with the IS in 2015, and held several meetings through Skype with an IS handler who was heard advising Waseem in one of the audio recordings to collect at least 400 gm gunpowder for a “major strike”. Waseem allegedly promised to carry out the instruction “as early as possible”.
The ATS said its operation began after a live bomb was detected in Khodiyarpara locality in Rajkot on February 14. A probe into the crime led police to nearby Morbi town. Information given by the owner of a shop from where a battery was obtained for the explosive device further led to the Ramodiya brothers.