Two Kishtwar students arrested for terror email, taken on remand14 September 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: After nearly a week-long investigations, police today arrested two students of Kishtwar town for sending terror email to two media houses in New Delhi claiming responsibility for last Wednesday's blast outside Delhi High Court in which 13 persons were killed and nearly 80 others were injured. The responsibility for the blast had been claimed on behalf of Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami (HuJI) outfit. These were the first arrests across the country in connection with September 7 blast at Union Capital. After formally arresting the 11th class students and registering a case against them at Kishtwar police station, the security agencies comprising Kishtwar police and National Investigating Agency (NIA) were now trying to ascertain identity of the militants, who had asked the boys to send the mail. The possibility of a Kishtwar link to the Delhi blast has also emerged with the arrest of email senders as Kishtwar district had been a hub of Bangladesh based terror outfit HuJI till a couple of years back before police claimed that the outfit was wiped out. The arrested students have been identified as Shariq Ahmed son of Rafiq Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Kishtwar town and Abid son of Attaullah, a resident of Pranu, presently putting up at Kishtwar. Attaullah was a Government employee working as a clerk in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, official sources said. They said both Shariq Ahmed and Abid were 11th class students of Government higher secondary school for boys, Kishtwar. Both of them were produced before Principal District and Session Judge N L Manhas in Kishtwar this morning. Police sought seven days remand of the accused on the ground that they were required for sustained interrogation as police was yet to reach to the person, who had given email to the students for forwarding it to two media houses to claim responsibility for the blast. The court granted seven days remand. A case FIR No. 238-2011 under Sections 120-B IPC (criminal conspiracy), 153-A IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 134-A IPC (attack on Government servant on duty) 66 Information Technology Act (misuse of cyber technology) and 13 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (indulging in militant activities) has been registered against the accused at Kishtwar police station. According to sources, the accused have been booked under IPC as investigations of the case have been entrusted to NIA and ultimately they would be taking custody of the arrested youth after completion of investigations in Kishtwar. Sources said police, which was today joined by another NIA team comprising SSP SM Pani, another IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre in the investigating agency and Shamsher Singh Parihar, DySP, was working on a theory that some of the militant cadre of HuJI had been won over by Indian Mujahideen, an off-shoot of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) after HuJI leadership was wiped out in Kishtwar. Another significant part of investigations is reportedly the visit of some IM activists from Bangalore to Kishtwar prior to the blast. Though this aspect hasn't been confirmed or authenticated, it is under investigation, sources said. Investigations by the security agencies so far have revealed that Shariq Ahmed and Abid were approached by the militants or their sympathizers in Kishtwar few days before the blast and supplied text of the email. They were also given email addresses of two national English news channels and asked to mail the text to them after 1 pm on September 7 if the blast was successful. Sources said Shariq Ahmed and Abid didn't go to the school last Wednesday and kept themselves glued to the news channels. As they got the news of the blast, they went to Global Cyber Cafe at about 1 pm and sent the mail at 1.30 pm to two news channels claiming responsibility of the blast on the name of HuJI militant outfit. While one of them sent the mail, other was privy to it, sources said, adding both of them were present in Terminal No. 2 of the cafe from where the terror email had been sent. They had generated the account firstname.lastname@example.org on spot before sending the mail. According to sources, some OGWs of militants appeared to have given a couple of days computer training to the duo to generate account and send mail. The text of the email sent by them read as 'we own responsibility of the blast at the High Court, Delhi. Our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately as we would target major High Courts and the Supreme Court of India'. Afzal Guru is on death row in Parliament attack case. The Union Home Ministry had written to President Pratibha Patil recently rejecting mercy petition of Afzal Guru, who hailed from Kashmir. Sources said that investigators decided to place the two students of Kishtwar town under arrest after an early morning operation. The arrested youth are close kin of two surrendered militants Irshad Ahmed and Farooq Ahmed, who were detained three days back in the terror email case. A number of surrendered militants and OGWs were being quizzed by police and NIA. Records of the computer used in Global cyber cafe in Kishtwar for sending the email are being analysed to ascertain if the two had any links with the perpetrators of the crime. The cyber experts have already been associated with investigations. A computer used in sending the email and hard disks have already been taken to NIA headquarters in New Delhi by the previous NIA team that had visited Kishtwar. The sources, however, said that neither of the two accused had any past criminal or militancy-related record. The sources said there could be a possibility that they had sent the email at the behest of someone. The duo were maintaining total silence during questioning and the two would be subjected to a lie detector and other scientific tests, they added. It may be mentioned that Kishtwar police and NIA have already sealed the Global Cyber Cafe from where the email was sent. One of the owners of the cafe Khwaja Mehmood and Manager Ashwani Kumar remained under police detention. Sources said Ashwani Kumar, who was present at the cyber cafe when the email was sent last Wednesday, is reported to have identified the arrested duo. Sources said the militant outfit had deliberately picked-up the first timers to send the mail to ensure that they were not recognized by the cafe staff. Other visitors to the cafe were quizzed by police but it took time to them to reach to the accused. Police had questioned a number of students and youth since Thursday morning after the terror email was spotted to Kishtwar. According to sources, Shariq Ahmed and Abid were being jointly interrogated by Kishtwar police and NIA to ascertain identity of the persons, who had handed over them the text of the mail for forwarding it to the media houses in New Delhi. There was a possibility that the real culprits might not have met the students directly and supplied the text through some couriers. Arrest of the persons, who had contacted the duo could lead to some vital clues in the Delhi blast, which hitherto, eluded NIA. It was in view of this that a senior NIA officer was camping in Kishtwar. Sources didn't rule out the possibility of a terror module from Kishtwar having helped the militants in carrying out the blast outside the Delhi High Court. 'All possible angles are under investigations. It was not only the terror email that was sent from Kishtwar but investigators were working on all angles including the one that the terror module from Kishtwar had helped in the blast. The possibility that the plot for the terror strike had been hatched in Kishtwar was also not being ruled out completely', sources said, adding it could take a lot of time to reach to the roots of the terror network as the militants like 13-7 Mumbai serial blasts had operated very cautiously leaving very less clues behind. Sources, however, said that there were some clues with them in the blast also but did not give any details. 'Some people have been arrested and they are being interrogated,' sources said, adding NIA has got some clues and there is progress. 'We have clues. There is progress also. But we do not want to disclose whatever progress we have made as it will hamper the investigations,' sources said. They added that it has now almost been confirmed that out of four emails received by media houses and other agencies, the HuJI mail sent from Kishtwar appeared to be genuine while others were pranks to divert attention of security agencies. However, the investigators were not ruling out the hand of IM in the blast or that the attack could have been jointly executed by both the outfits. The NIA had yesterday raised the reward money from Rs five lakh to Rs 10 lakh for anybody giving information about the perpetrators of the blast. PTI adds from Kolkata The Special Task Force of Kolkata Police meanwhile arrested a 14-year-old student for allegedly sending a 'mischievous' e-mail to media houses claiming responsibility for the High Court blast. The student, Sunny Shukla of Pakur in Jharkhand, sent two e-mails in this connection posing as a member of terror group Indian Mujahideen, Additional Commissioner of Police (STF), Rajiv Kumar told reporters. 'After interrogating him we are sure that the e-mails were sent mischievously and he has no connection with terror groups and not responsible for the Delhi High Court blasts,' Kumar said. Shukla sent the second and the fourth mail of the four mails received by the media houses from e-mail ID- chotoominani5@gmail.Com through a Blackberry mobile using a SIM card of the Kolkata circle, claiming that the IM and not HuJI was responsible for the blasts, Kumar said. 'He provided us the password and the e-mails were traced in his outbox,' Kumar said. 'We have charged him under IT section 66A, 66B and 257 A of IPC and he has been produced in a juvenile court,' Kumar said. In reply to a question, he said that an NIA officer would interrogate Shukla.