Police ignored alert even as cleric radicalised young minds

Police ignored alert even as cleric radicalised young minds

Intelligence had written to B'luru police to monitor Qasmi's activities

Police ignored alert even as cleric radicalised young minds

 Maulana Anzarshah Qasmi, the city-based cleric arrested by the Delhi police for his alleged links with al-Qaeda, went on a radicalisation spree and successfully radicalised a large number of youth for about five years. The Bengaluru City police never acted on the requests of the State Intelligence Wing (SIW) to monitor his activities.

The SIW had prepared a list of three such clerics in the State - one each in Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Bengaluru (Qasmi) - in 2010 itself. The SIW had repeatedly requested the Bengaluru police to closely monitor Qasmi for showing ‘dangerous trends’.

“We wrote three letters to the then City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar requesting that the movements of Qasmi and his radical activities be monitored. We had even requested the police to register cases against Qasmi, detain him and interrogate if need be. Despite our letters and sharing of’information, the police never acted,” a former police officerwho served in the Intelligence department told Deccan Herald.

“The SIW lacks powers to book cases and effect any arrests. Otherwise, we would have booked Qasmi, detained and interrogated him. This could have given crucial leads about his involvement in terrorist activities,” he said and suspected that he might have influenced the minds of a large number of youths.

“We collected a huge quantity of data containing hate speeches of Qasmi in 2010. We were convinced that Qasmi was in constant touch with many outfits in foreign countries, but we could not trace his handlers outside India. The City police would have identified the handlers had they acted on our letters,” the officer said.The SIW decided to write to the City police, recommending action against Qasmi after hearing his speeches. The SIW even told the police to register cases if need be and take measures to prevent him from radicalising youths, he said.

They believed that Qasmi might have acted as a recruiting agent for a few outfits besides playing a lead role in their financial transactions. Auradkar was not available for comment.

Under the scanner since 2007

The first time Qasmi came under the police radar was soon after the 2007 attack on the Glasgow international airport, carried out by Kafeel Ahmed, a resident of Karisandra in Banashankari 2nd stage.

A Wahabi, Qasmi is believed to have radicalised Kafeel during his frequent visits to his mosque at Banashankari. The SIW started tracking elements that were radicalising youth after the arrest of Dr Sabeel Ahmed and Kafeel Ahmed in the airport attack case. A retired officer in the SIW said, “While SIW established the innocence of Kafeel’s parents, they were convinced that Kafeel was radicalised by a cleric.”