A reign of ter­ror — from Gu­jarat to Delhi

Ju­naid’s Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion Started In Ali­garh Af­ter A Se­ries Of Dis­ap­point­ments In Ed­u­ca­tional Pur­suits

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY | BOMBER IN NET -

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.

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