Lucknow: Saifullah, the young man who was shot dead on the outskirts of Lucknow in a lengthy operation by commandos yesterday, was a “self-radicalised ISIS operative,” the Uttar Pradesh police said on Tuesday.
Bomb-making equipment, gold, cash, weapons like knives, eight pistols and three passports were found in the home where Saifullah was cornered yesterday by the Anti-Terror Squad. For 12 hours, he refused to surrender. Finally, commandos forced their way into the area and killed him.
His father, Sartaj, who lives in Kanpur, has refused to accept his body today, saying he “cannot make his peace with a traitor.”
Saifullah and eight other men were all members of a group that was radicalized online by ISIS propaganda and then decided to plot terror attacks, said Daljit Choudhary, a senior police officer in Uttar Pradesh. He said manuals on how to assemble bombs were recovered from the Lucknow safe house, which had been rented a few months ago. “They did not receive funding or aid from any external source, this was all self-generated and financed,” he said, describing the gang as “self-proclaimed ISIS cell.”
Apart from Saifullah, six members have been arrested, including two of his cousins who lived in Kanpur. The others were caught in Madhya Pradesh, where the group is accused of planting a low-intensity bomb on a train yesterday that injured nine people.
Security camera footage helped identify three men who were caught within hours in Madhya Pradesh; information shared by them led to SAifullah and the other arrests in Uttar Pradesh.
All the men belonged to Uttar Pradesh. They were planning to attack a shrine in Baribanki, just 29 km from Lucknow as also the famous Imambara monument, a grand complex that houses a shrine in Lucknow, said sources handling the investigation.