Cops arrest four youths with IS links, foil plans

Their target was Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar

 Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested four men in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district over suspected links with extremist militant group Islamic State (IS).

Sources said they were collecting matchboxes to make bombs, using explosives attached with the heads of the sticks.

The group allegedly planned to target the ongoing Ardh Kumbh Mela at Haridwar, trains heading there and strategic locations in Delhi and NCR.

The accused have been identified as Akhlaq ur-Rehman, a resident of Chandanpur village, Mohammad Aziz Shah and Mohammad Mehroz of Landhaura Town, and Mohammad Osama of Jaurasi village.

They are of 18 to 22 years of age and students of first and second year of graduation. Mehroz was a second-year Biomedical Sciences (BMS) student of Ayurvedic College in Uttarakhand.

They had conducted a recce of Ardh Kumbh Mela and railway tracks in Haridwar. Four to five recces in Delhi and Noida had also been conducted.

“Their locations were traced to Uttarakhand. Since Sunday, police teams had been conducting raids in Haridwar,” said Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Arvind Deep.

Police have also recovered a laptop and mobile phones from their possession.
Delhi Police along with Uttarakhand Police had been keeping a close vigil on the group for days before they were nabbed.

Akhlaq was acting as the coordinator amongst the four and they were working on directions from someone through social networking websites.
They had also received funds for their activities.

“They were produced before a court in Delhi on Wednesday and sent to 14-day police remand,” Deep added.

The four men were under the radar of Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police’s Special Cell for their online activities.

Sources said around 160 people are under technical surveillance following their suspicious online activities linked to IS sympathisers.

It is alleged that the accused were regularly visiting IS-supported websites, Facebook groups and stayed in regular touch with some supporters through WhatsApp.

They were also in touch with some people who were believed to be in IS territories in Iraq and Syria.
Delhi Police have booked the suspects under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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