Gandhinagar: The two brothers, who the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Gujarat Police claimed were home-grown terrorists, were planning to strike “in a day or two” at a temple atop a hill in Chotila in Surendranagar district, 55 km from Rajkot.
The duo had attempted to carry out a terror attack twice earlier. Wasim Ramodiya and Naeem Ramodiya, who have MCA and BCA degrees respectively, were arrested on Saturday night. Police said as per the initial information, the accused were preparing for a terror strike temple at Chamunda temple where thousands of devotees visit daily.
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 KK 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.
According to ATS ACP BS Chavda said that to create terror, the brothers planned to record and upload the video of the attack on social media. They had also planned to carry out blasts at different places and also set on fire vehicles to spread terror, Chavda said.
The duo had tried to carry out terror attack earlier too. As per The Times of India, Wasim and Naeem earlier attempted to kill a person. Later, they tired to set ablaze a vehicle.
It was after these unsuccessful attempts that they had planned to attack the Chamunda temple at Chotila.
Also, the famous Somnath and Dwarkadhish temples in the Saurashtra region were 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.