Al-Qaida man on mission to ‘recruit Rohingya youth’ held in Delhi - Rajshekhar Jha, ToI
In the biggest breakthrough made by Indian intelligence this year, the special cell of Delhi Police has arrested 28-year-old Samiun Rahman, a British national who police said was al Qaida's key recruiter in India.
Rahman, who has family roots in Bangladesh, was allegedly setting up base in Delhi, Mizoram and Manipur to radicalise and recruit Rohingya refugees to wage war against India as well as to fight the Myanmar army.
He was described as a battle-hardened mujahideen who had fought for the Qaida's al-Nusra front in Aleppo, Syria, before being sent to Bangladesh as a recruiter. Rahman was arrested from Vikas Marg in east Delhi while trying to establish contact with a recruit, police said.
Rahman was earlier arrested in Bangladesh on charges of terror financing and was released in April 2017. He was thereafter contacted by Nusra commander Mohammad Jowlani who directed him to go to India and recruit Rohingya refugees, police said.
They said Rahman was in touch with top Qaida and al-Nusra commanders for instructions through secure messaging app called 'protective text'. He told interrogators that he had tapped around 12 Rohingya refugees living in Kashmir, northeast, Delhi, Bihar and Hazaribagh (Jharkhand).
"He was setting up a base in Delhi and two northeastern states and preparing the recruits to carry out strikes in India and fight the Myanmar army. He was being assisted by al-Qaida cadre in Delhi, Hazaribagh and other places in India, who are being identified," said deputy commissioner (special cell) Pramod Kushwah.
Police found Rahman was carrying a voter ID card in the name of Shumon Haq, a resident of Kishanganj, Bihar. "We have recovered US $2,000, a laptop, a 9mm pistol and magazines apart from Indian and Bangladeshi SIM cards. Rahman has also been to Morocco, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Turkey and for terror activities. He has been taken on remand for interrogation," Kushwaha told TOI.
Officials said the special cell had got wind of Rahman's activities two months ago and was tracking him since then. The tip-off was on one "Raju bhai" from al-Qaida who was recruiting people and trying to set up a base in Delhi to carry out terror strikes in India.
A special team comprising ACP Govind Sharma and three inspectors Kailash Bisht, Ravinder Tyagi and Pramod Chauhan was formed and surveillance mounted on the suspect on social media networks.
Last month, cops found that Rahman had crossed over from Bangladesh and rented a house in Kishanganj, Bihar. A team was sent there and a watch kept over his activities. A few weeks ago, cops found that the suspect had come to Delhi/NCR.
On Sunday, the team zeroed in on the suspect at Vikas Marg (near ITO), while he was waiting to a contact, and arrested him. "A case under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008 and Arms Act has been registered against him and investigations have begun to unearth the entire 'al-Qaida' module developed by him," Kushwaha added.
During interrogation, the accused tried to mislead the cops by claiming to be Shumon Haq. However, he broke down during sustained interrogation and revealed his real identity. His antecedents were then confirmed with the Bangladesh police.
During interrogation, he revealed that he crossed into to India in July this year. His task was to raise funds and incite youths to fight for the cause of Rohingya Muslims and facilitate their entry into Myanmar from northeastern states.
He had stayed at various madrassas in Kishanganj and Hazaribagh and Delhi/NCR to tap vulnerable youths. He has confessed that he was in contact with his outfit members via secured apps as well as social networking sites such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Telegram. He was also cultivating youths on these networks.