Maqsudan Police Station blast: 2 students arrested

Chandigarh: The Punjab Police on Monday arrested two students associated with Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), a Kashmir-based terrorist outfit with reported links to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), in connection with Maqsudan Police Station hand-grenade blasts case of September 14.

The outfit is headed by Zakir Rashid Bhatt who masterminded and guided the attacks, involving Shahid Qayoom and Fazil Bashir, students of ST Soldier College of Engineering and Technology in Jalandhar.

This is the second case of arrest of Kashmiri students linked with AGH in the state. In October, the police had arrested three Kashmiri students from the hostel of CT Institute of Engineering Management and Technology, Jalandhar.

Giving details, Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora said four persons were involved in carrying out the hand-grenade blasts in the police station. They were Shahid, Fazil, Mir Ravoof Ahmed, and Mir Umar Ramzan.

While Shahid and Fazil were pursuing B-Tech (Civil) 7th Semester, the other two, who are still absconding, were trained AGH terrorist operatives who flew from Srinagar to Chandigarh on September 13, with the sole purpose of carrying out these attacks.

Investigations so far have revealed that AGH’s recruiter Amir, of Dada Sara Tral in Kashmir, had contacted both the students when they were in Kashmir. He reportedly radicalized the students and also exhorted them to work for AGH. Shahid and Fazil were in contact with the leaders and members of the AGH outfit over different chat applications.

Giving further details, the DGP said that after reaching Chandigarh, Rouf and Gazi travelled to Jalandhar by bus where they met Shahid and Fazil around Maqsudan Chownk, located near Police Station Maqsudan’.

Shahid and Fazil took them to their friend’s PG in Surat Nagar, Maqsudan. Both Rouf and Gazi, along with Shahid and Fazil, carried out the recce of Police Station Maqsudan and others on September 13.

According to the DGP, the operatives earlier contemplated throwing grenades at CRPF and ITBP Camps located near Bidhipur Railway crossing and had conducted a recce of CRPF Campus also. Shahid had borrowed a black colour HP number Pulsar bike from one of his friends to facilitate the reconnaissance operation.

On September 14, at around 4.30 pm, the four conspirators took the grenades and left for the Police Station at around 5.30 pm. They sported face masks to avoid detection. They decided to meet at Jalandhar Bus stand after throwing the grenades at the Police Station.

Around 7.40 pm, they hurled four grenades at the police station and fled from the spot. After the blasts, Rouf, Gaji and Fazil reached the bus stand via DAV College, Patel Chowk route while Shahid reached there by taking Jalandhar Bypass route. A little later, Rouf and Gazi boarded a bus for Jammu and Kashmir from Jammu Counter and fled Jalandhar city.

The DGP further said that Faizal Bashir was arrested by Punjab Police from Awantipora in Kashmir on November 3 and Shahid Qayoom was arrested from Jalandhar on November 4. An FIR under Sections 307, 427,120-B of the Indian Penal Code and 3, 4, 5 Explosives Act, was registered against them.

He added that further investigations were in progress and the Punjab Police was working closely with Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies to arrest the remaining Kashmiri terrorists, and to unearth the entire conspiracy and network built by these outfits in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

Expressing concern over the targeting of police stations and police officers in Punjab, the DGP appealed to the student community in the state not to fall a prey to the designs of militant elements and anti-national forces, which were out to disturb the peace and communal harmony in the border state of Punjab.