A Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist who was planning an attack during Ganesh Chaturthi was arrested in Kanpur on Thursday, police said.
“The terrorist has been identified as Qamar-uz-Zama (37), a resident of Assam, and is an active member of Hizbul Mujahideen,” Director General of Police OP Singh said.
He was arrested from Shivnagar locality in Kanpur’s Chakeri area, the state police chief said at a hurriedly called press conference here.
The DGP said the arrested terrorist was planning an attack during Ganesh Chaturthi but did not elaborate, saying a probe is on. The 10-day festival began Thursday.
Replying to a question, Singh said, “Whether he is here to vitiate the religious atmosphere or for any other purpose is part of the probe,” he said.
It appeared from his mobile phone that he was carrying out a recce, police said. A video clip of a temple in Kanpur was found on it.
The state’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), which made the arrest, was tracking him for the past 8-10 days. The National Investigation Agency and the Kanpur police were also involved.
“He was active on social media and had posted a picture of himself in April 2018 with an AK-47 weapon, after which he was under our radar,” the DGP said.
The photo went viral on social media, police said.
The caption said, “Org: Hizbul Mujahideen; Name: Qamer Uzzaman; S/O Ibrahim Zaman; R/O: Assam India; Code: Dr Hurairah; Qul: MA English.”
The police said Qamar accepted during interrogation that he is an active member of Hizbul Muzahideen and was sent to Kanpur in preparation for a terror attack.
“The terrorist had undergone training in Pakistan in 2017 and had joined the Hizbul there. He also stayed abroad between 2008 and 2012,” Singh said.
He spent some time in hiding on a Pacific Ocean island in the Republic of Palau, police said.
Qamar-uz-Zama is educated with a sound knowledge of computers, but failed his BA third-year exam, the Uttar Pradesh DGP said.
He did a diploma in computers and typing.
Singh said the police are trying to trace his links and source of funding. They are also probing why he was staying in Kanpur.
“Whether he is here to vitiate the religious atmosphere or for any other purpose is part of the probe,” he said.
Qamar, who is also known as Dr Hurairah and Kamruddina, married in 2013 in Assam and has a son who lives there.
In March, the Uttar Pradesh ATS had arrested 10 people it claimed were linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba and involved in terror-funding activities.