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UP on alert ahead of Independence Day celebrations

UP ATS to get Army-like arsenal. Image Source: IANS News

Lucknow, Aug 13 : Uttar Pradesh has been put on alert following a disclosure made by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) that suspected terror operative, Ahmad Raza, 24, arrested from Moradabad 10 days ago, had planned a ‘fidayeen’ attack on Independence Day, an official said.

ATS officials said Raza confessed his plan during the 14-day custody remand, that will continue till August 19.

The officials said they were still verifying details of the terror plan and added that Raza will be taken to a few places in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag and Srinagar where he had taken up firearms training in secret terror camps.

Uttar Pradesh ATS also shared a detailed press note in which its officials shared that on the direction of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror operative Waleed, Raza had even purchased a US-made automatic pistol.

The ATS officials said a .32 bore US-made pistol along with magazine and six live cartridges, hidden at a secret place near Raza’s village in Moradabad, had also been recovered.

Officials said he will be taken to Saharanpur to procure more information about his nefarious intentions and plans.

The ATS said Raza was allegedly influenced by Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani and Zakir Musa and was in regular touch with a Pakistan-based handler and two Hizbul commanders. He allegedly received firearms training at two places in Jammu and Kashmir in 2022 and recently, during the month of Ramzan, the officials added.

Officials said Raza received training in secret terror camps in Jammu and Kashmir with help from Firdaus Ahmad Darr, another terror suspect arrested by ATS from Anantnag on August 4.

Darr is also presently in ATS custody for 14 days till August 19.

ATS officials said Darr’s uncle Ghulam Ahmad Darr was also a terrorist and was killed in an encounter with the Indian Army in 1994. They said he was deeply influenced by his uncle and Hizbul Mujahideen’s poster boy Zakir Musa.

The officials said that Darr had radicalised Ahmad Raza through his chats and jihadi contents provided to him on chats and recruited him to Hizbul Mujahideen. They said Darr was in regular touch with Pakistani handler Gazi through different messaging applications and added that Gazi promised Darr to provide a consignment of firearms, ammunitions and explosives to carry out terror activities in the Valley and eventually establish the Sharia law in India.

ATS officials said Darr was also asked to recruit people across the country for this mission and added that he confessed having undergone firearms training in Hizbul camps.

Security has been intensified in the city leading up to Independence Day on August 15. Numerous events and programs are scheduled for the big day in the city.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, several roads and intersections in the city were partially barricaded, with police teams inspecting suspicious vehicles on the streets. Groups of police officers, accompanied by senior officials, were also observed conducting inspection drives in malls and other shopping areas.

Aparna Rajat Kaushik, DCP (Central),said, “In anticipation of Independence Day, the Lucknow Police Commissionerate is evaluating the security measures being implemented at various locations.”

“An extensive inspection campaign is underway. Furthermore, the bomb disposal squad has been deployed at prominent sites such as malls, shopping complexes, markets and other public areas with substantial footfall,” she added.

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