Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: Amid reports that operatives of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) tried to recruit some Muzaffarnagar riot victims, the Delhi Police on Tuesday said that it is conducting raids at various places to verify whether the terrorist organisation is trying to infiltrate communally sensitive parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference, SN Shrivastava (Special CP, Special Cell of Delhi Police) said, “We had arrested two men - Mohd Shaheed and Mohd Rasheed - and interrogated them to find out the truth.”
“The two individuals were arrested from Mewat following inputs from intelligence agencies. We have also registered a case of criminal conspiracy under various section of IPC against the two men.” Shrivastava said.
When questioned whether the two individuals arrested by Delhi Police have actually contacted the riot victims, Shrivastava said, “They have confirmed that they have contacted few people but we need to verify this at our end.”
Replying to a question as to what Delhi Police intends to do in order to foil LeT`s plan to expand its base in parts of UP, the officer said, “We have to question and arrest more people involved, until then we cant say anything.”
“We are probing whether the motive for recruitment was to avenge Muzaffarnagar riots. We are searching for LeT recruiters in Uttar Pradesh,” the Special Cell Commissioner said.
Shrivastava, however, categorically stated that those contacted were not Muzaffarnagar riot victims, but ordinary residents of Muzaffarnagar.
The media reports on LeT trying to infiltrate communally sensitive parts of Uttar Pradesh came days after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi expressed concerns that Pakistan`s spy agency ISI may try to take advantage of communal riots in Muzaffarnagar.
It was reported that two Muslim clerics, who were arrested from Haryana`s Mewat recently for their alleged links with LeT, have revealed to Delhi Police that they paid a visit to the riots-hit Muzaffarnagar and met some victims there.
The two suspected LeT operatives also told Delhi Police about their plans to recruit Muzaffarnagar riot victims for anti-India activities.
The Muzaffarnagar riot victims also reportedly said that the two LeT operatives tried to recruit men from the relief camps set up after the September communal clashes.
When some of them who were allegedly approached refused to work for the terror outfit, the two LeT operatives went to Delhi to recruit more people.
Delhi Police Special Cell is also believed to have learnt from the riots victims that the two clerics - Hafeez Rashidi and Shahid - made several visits to the relief camps.
The riot victims, who have turned witnesses against the arrested clerics, have reportedly testified before a magistrate, which makes it admissible as evidence in court.
The fresh revelation lends credence to concerns expressed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during a rally in October when he said that an intelligence officer had told him about Pakistani intelligence ISI trying to recruit young men whose families suffered in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Rahul faced criticism from various Muslim groups and the BJP, which accused him of trying to politicize the Muzaffarnagar riots. Nearly 60 people were killed in the riots and over 40,000 driven out of their villages and forced to live in relief camps.
The two clerics arrested from Mewat in Haryana allegedly told the Delhi Police that they had been tasked to recruit young men for terror, and were ordered to visit Muzaffarnagar to identify operatives from disgruntled men in relief camps.
The two men have also been charged of plotting a terror attack in the national capital.