NIA takes over 'Hizbul network' case in Assam

National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday took over a case registered by the police in Assam and Uttar Pradesh to investigate a possible network of Hizbul Mujahideen

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday took over a case registered by the police in Assam and Uttar Pradesh to investigate a possible network of Hizbul Mujahideen in Assam, following recent arrests of at least seven suspects.

NIA officials here told DH that the agency re-registered the case after the union home ministry asked it for a thorough investigation into possible expansion of a "Hizbul network" to the Northeastern state, money trail from Jammu and Kashmir and procurement of arms.

The Assam police got whiff of a network of the Jammu and Kashmir-based terror group after the anti-terrorism squad of the Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Qamer Uz Zaman, a resident of central Assam's Hojai district on September 13 in Kanpur, on charges of being a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Zaman had gone to Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 for the garments business but his family lodged a complaint last year saying he had gone missing there.

The police in Assam, however, went tizzy in April this year after a photograph with Zaman holding an AK-47 rifle surfaced on Facebook, which claimed that he had joined Hizbul Mujahideen with the codename 'Dr. Hurairah'.

The police in Assam later arrested six others, including his "close friend" Shahnawaz Alam, also from Hojai, who had allegedly helped him get mobile SIM cards with fake identity documents.

The police said Zaman had received training in Kashmir by Hizbul commanders and was sent to Assam to set up a base of the terror group by recruiting local Muslim youths.

The NIA source said they would seek custody of all the accused arrested so far and would examine the documents, SIM cards and call details for a thorough investigation about modus operandi of the terror group.

Zaman was brought to Assam on Tuesday but was again taken to Kanpur on Wednesday for further interrogation.

The entire Northeast still have several local militant groups, including United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) earlier “helped” by Pakistan-based ISI but arrests of the suspected Hizbul Mujahideen members now have raised fear that the Kashmir-based rebel group could try to set up its own base in the region that shares borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.

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NIA takes over 'Hizbul network' case in Assam

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