Bangalore/New Delhi: The arrest of young scientists, doctors, journalists and MBA students in connection with the Karnataka terror plot probe has stunned law enforcement agencies. These young educated men, hailing from middle class backgrounds and with no prior police records, pose a new challenge to the anti-terror sleuths.
Twenty-six-year-old Jaffer Iqbal is an MBBS student, M Siddiqui, 27, is a journalist with a popular daily, Aijaz Mirza, 26, is a junior scientist with DRDO and Obaid Rehman is a student in Hyderabad. Ordinarily, these profiles would never raise suspicions but if the police is to be believed, they are part of a Lashkar-e-Toiba and HuJI terror module and were planning to kill some key personalities and attack key installations.
"Targeting one of these individuals could have led to serious repercussions," says Bangalore Police Commissioner Jyoti Prakash Mirji. Investigators claim the interrogation of the 11 men arrested in Karnataka on Thursday led to more arrests in Nanded and Hyderabad. ATS Maharashtra sources told CNN-IBN that of the four men arrested in Maharashtra, two are well-educated.
But this isn't the first time that the IB and the state police are encountering radicalised educated Indians. Mohammed Mansoor Ashgar Peerbhoy, a computer enginner, was arrested in 2009 for allegedly sending hate mails on behalf of Indian Mujahideen. Absconding Bhatkal brothers Riyaz and Yasin, founders of Indian Mujahideen, are both highly educated and the most recent case of Fasih Mehmood, an engineer who was accused of being involved in the Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium blast, was arrested in Saudi Arabia.
However, family members of the suspects arrested by the Karnataka Police are crying foul. But the state police and the Union Home Ministry are convinced that these young professionals represent the new face of radicalisation in India.