A reign of terror — from Gujarat to Delhi
Junaid’s Radicalisation Started In Aligarh After A Series Of Disappointments In Educational Pursuits
New Delhi: He wanted to have a blast on his 23rd birthday, so four days before that Ariz Khan triggered improvised explosive devices in Ahmedabad that resulted in the death of 56 people and injured over 150 men, women and children, said a police source.
A highly-radicalised terror operative and an expert IED-maker, Ariz was called an elusive bomber and a master escape artiste by sleuths.
Born into a middle-class family in Kotwali of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Ariz was the second of three brothers. He stayed with his elder brother, Shariq, and father, Jafre Alam Khan, in the house of their uncle, a doctor in Azamgarh city.
He did his schooling from Shibly National Nursery School and Jyoti Niketan School in Azamgarh. After passing Class X, he went to Aligarh to appear for Class XI entrance exams, but failed to clear it. Disappointed, he returned to Jyoti Niketan School and joined the science stream.
After passing Class XII in 2003, he shifted to Lucknow and began to prepare for his engineering entrance exam, indoctrinated them by making them listen to speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar, reading magazines like Tameer-e-Millat, videos of atrocities on Muslims in Palestine and other places but failed to clear it too. Ariz then came to Delhi in April 2004. He stayed at his maternal uncle’s house in Lajpat Nagar till May 2005 and then went to Muzaffarnagar to do BTech in information technology at S D College.
Life took a drastic turn when Ariz went to Aligarh to prepare for an entrance exam. He and his school friends — Asadullah Akhtar aka Haddi and Mirza Shadab Baig — were introduced to Atif Ameen through their common friend Azhar. Atif made then listen to speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar and other provocative material, like clips of Palestine war, through audio and video cassettes and magazines.
In 2003, one Ariz Sheikh from Sanjarpur began to visit Atif ’s room and the group had discussions on religion and life after death. In January 2005, Ariz and Mirza Baig shifted to Zakir Nagar from Lajpat Nagar. Atif Ameen also began to live in nearby Shaheen Bagh with his brother. Atif introduced him to one Sadiq Sheikh, who claimed to have joined jihad due to the Babri Masjid incident.
In one of their meetings, Atif told Ariz about attending 40-day training at Kara- chi, Pakistan in which he learnt handling of weapons, preparation of IEDs and underwent physical training. Subsequently, Ariz, Baig and others joined Atif and Indian Mujahideen. This led to the formation of Delhi and Azamgarh/Sanjarpur modules that carried out blasts across the country.
On November 23, 2007, Ariz and his associates planted three IEDs at Varanasi courts, two at Faizabad courts and two at Lucknow court. Ariz planted the bombs at Lucknow. They also sent an email to news channels five minutes prior to the blasts to claim responsibility for the attack by Indian Mujahiddin. It was the first time that people came to know of IM.
The module members then travelled to Udupi in Karnataka and collected a large amount of explosives (ammonium nitrate) from Yasin Bhatkal. These were used in the Jaipur blasts in May 2008. A month later, Ahmedabad blasts happened and two months later, in September, Delhi was rocked by serial blasts.
However, a team led by inspector Mohan Chand Sharma tracked down Ariz, Ateef and others to Batla House in Jamia Nagar. Ariz managed to flee.