As the Republic Day approaches, Indian security forces have intensified efforts – including arrests of suspects from across the country — to ensure that annual event passes off peacefully on 26 January.
President of France Francois Hollande will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi, the government of India had announced on 16 December.
As part of the efforts to provide fool proof security, not just on the Republic Day but before and after the event as well, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has so far arrested 14 suspected members of Islamic State (IS). Out of these, nine people have been arrested with the assistance from various state police departments, according to sources.
“On the basis of information revealed in the interrogation of five accused people, another nine accused people have been arrested from various locations in different cities,” said an NIA official.
The arrested men are Sayed Mujahid, 33, resident of Karnataka, Mohammad Aleem, 20, Lucknow, Mohammed Obedullah Khan, 33, and Abu Anas, 24, Hyderabad, Asif Ali alias Arman Saani, 21, Suhail Ahmed, 23, Muhammed Abdul Ahad, 46, Bengaluru, Mohammad Hussain Khan, 36, Mumbai, and Imran Khan Pathan from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
The NIA said the arrested people are being produced before the concerned courts for obtaining transit remand to be taken to Delhi for further interrogation and investigation, said the official.
“They searched our house and found nothing. My husband is a very decent man,” said wife of IS suspect M. Shareef Moinuddin Khan who was arrested from Hyderabad.
Khan and Abu Anas, who was also arrested from Hyderabad, were later on Saturday sent on three-day transit remand by Nampally Court in Hyderabad. They will now be produced in Patiala House Court in New Delhi.
The NIA launched its nationwide search-and-arrest on Thursday. The agency has so far conducted raids at 12 locations in six cities — Bengaluru, Tumkur in Karnataka and Mangalore in Karnataka, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow. They arrested these people on alerts about IS sympathisers who informed that some people were planning bomb attacks in several cities on the Republic Day.
The NIA is said to have confiscated incriminating documents, mobiles, laptops and unaccounted cash and material used in making bombs. Large quantities of arms and ammunition are also said to have been seized from the rented house of two of the suspects in Bengaluru.