In a significant development, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has announced a monetary reward of Rs 25,000 each for information leading to the apprehension of two Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students associated with the notorious terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The identified individuals are 25-year-old Abdul Samad Malik from Sambhal and 24-year-old Faizan Bakhtiyar from Prayagraj. Both were pursuing master’s degrees in social work and were residents of the VM Hall hostel at AMU.
The accused duo was reportedly linked to the Students of Aligarh Muslim University (SAMU) and actively participated in propagating the ideologies of ISIS. This revelation comes in the wake of recent breakthroughs by authorities, resulting in the arrest of nine individuals connected to the terror group’s module across Uttar Pradesh and other states since October 2.
Abdullah Arsalan and Maaz bin Tariq, members of the ISIS Pune module, were apprehended on November 3, according to Additional Director General (ADG) ATS Mohit Aggarwal. Notably, the module comprised several AMU students, including Abdul Samad Malik and Faizan Bakhtiyar. The investigation further identified individuals associated with the module, including Mohammed Arshad Warsi, Mohammed Shahnawaz Alam, Rizwan Abdul Haji Ali, Wajihuddin Ali Khan, Abdullah Arsalan, Maaz bin Tariq, and Mohammad Naved Siddiqui.
On November 3, the ATS formally filed charges against Shahnawaz and ten others under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Indian Penal Code sections 121-A and 122.
The unfolding of this network traces back to October 2, when Shahnawaz and Rizwan, affiliated with AMU’s SAMU, were apprehended by the Mumbai ATS. Subsequently, with the arrest of Arsalan and Tariq on November 3, the UP ATS initiated legal action against Shahnawaz and others.
Further investigations led to the arrest of Wajihudeen in Chhattisgarh’s Durg on November 11. Wajihudeen, holding a PhD from AMU, was reportedly employed by the ISIS network under the guise of being a SAMU member.
Four more individuals, suspected of ties to the module and identified as present or former AMU students, were detained in Sambhal and Bhadohi districts. They include Naved Siddiqui, Mohammed Noman, Mohammed Nazim, and Raqeeb Imam.
The ATS has taken decisive action against this ISIS network, comprising self-radicalised individuals connected to SAMU, according to Special Director General for Law and Order Prashant Kumar. The group aimed to spread ISIS’s ideology and impose Islamic law globally.
Wajihuddin Ali Khan utilised social media to indoctrinate youth with ISIS’s jihadi ideology, with the intention of carrying out jihad in India. The module, active in various areas including Aligarh, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Sambhal, Rampur, and Kaushambi, encouraged AMU students to join their ranks. Wajihuddin, the alleged mastermind of the Pune module, received directives for acts of terrorism from a handler based in Pakistan. Notably, Shahnawaz and Rizwan had been previously arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell.
The ATS continues to investigate and dismantle the intricate web of individuals associated with this alarming ISIS module, working towards maintaining national security and safeguarding the public.