Lucknow: A day after five youths were held for allegedly being involved in a terror plot that would have targeted Delhi and UP -while one, the imam of a local mosque called Mohd Faizan, has been arrested, the rest were let off after questioning on Friday senior police officers told TOI that “some 2,000 mosques and madrassas in and around Bijnor are now under a security scanner”.
Since most of those who were detained “were impressionable students who studied in different madrassas”, the attention of law enforcement agencies is now squarely on the madrassas and mosques dotting this swathe of Uttar Pradesh, police said. According to data accessed from the minority affairs department, there are around 500 madrassas out of which 15 are degree level and 55 high school level. There are close to 1,500 mosques in the area under police lens.
Superintendent of police (SP), Bijnor, Ajay Sahani said, “Police and other security agencies will keep a strict vigil over religious institutions across Bijnor and neighbouring areas and also keep track of outsiders in their premises. We will also seek the help of responsible citizens and members of civil society to frequently visit these institutions and places and keep sensitising youngsters in order to prevent them from falling into the radicalisation trap.”
In a joint operation involving police of six states, four youths between 19 and 25 years were arrested on Thursday for allegedly conspiring terror strikes in Delhi and UP. Eight others had been detained. While six of them were interrogated by the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), two were detained in Maharashtra.
“All those taken away by the UP ATS have been released. Their parents were called to Noida and their wards were handed over to them, but with a warning,” Sahani said, adding, “These youths were in touch with a terror module which was planning attacks at various locations.
The youths held by UP ATS from Bijnor were closely associated with Faizan, who used to radicalise them. Security agencies have also found IS literature in their possession.”
Police sources said that though the four young men have been released, security agencies would continue to keep them under watch. For six months “every activity of theirs will be under scrutiny”.