Sunday, January 28, 2018

Detained Pune girl came to Valley to marry Kashmiri boy


PUNE/SRINAGAR: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday said the Yerawada girl detained in Kashmir following an alert that she could be used as a suicide bomber near or inside the Republic Day parade venue in the Valley was in contact with a Kashmiri boy on a social networking site and had planned to marry him.

A senior ATS officer, requesting anonymity, said, "We were aware of the girl's presence at Bijbehara in Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir police detained her for questioning because they had strong inputs that she could cause suicide bomb explosion there. Our investigations have revealed that the girl's mother had dropped her in Kashmir around a fortnight ago and returned to Pune."

An official of the Pune police, however, said, "Our investigations revealed that the girl's mother had dropped her to Delhi and from there she went to Kashmir. We have requested her mother and family members to join us in investigations, but they have refused to share information of the girl for various reasons."

The senior ATS officer said, "We had gathered information that the girl pursuing a nursing course was in touch with the militant organization, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The ATS, along with experts, social NGO, Maulana and her parents, counselled and de-radicalized her and kept her under observation."

On how the girl changed tracks again, the officer said, "She often told ATS that she was keen on joining ISIS in the past for carrying out terrorist activities. Since she was so determined, we had to keep a close watch on her movements to prevent her from joining the radical outfit." On de-radicalization of youths, the ATS officer said, "We have been making conscious efforts on this aspect for the past three years. In this case, the girl was highly influenced and therefore, we could not change her mind set. Second, we did not want to register a case against her. Therefore, it had become difficult for us to restrict her movement or activities over a period of time."

The officer said, "Preventing social media activities was our first challenge and we managed to restrict it by closing over 100 URLs propagating ISIS agenda. The current status of the outfit also helped us." He said, "The girl is yet to be arrested formally. Currently, Kashmir police are interrogating her. Therefore, we cannot comment on the further procedure at this juncture."

Additional-director general of police (Kashmir range) Munir Khan said, "We worked on certain leads and detained the girl. We are interrogating her to find out if she was a suicide bomber or not." When asked if militant outfits were recruiting educated youths, Khan said, "Yes the militant outfits are luring the youth into militancy and they are trying hard to get educated youth. We are countering it the way we have to. Let us see how much we succeed. Today, 99 % of youths are educated and there are exceptional cases (alluding to those who have joined militant ranks). So, we are also looking into it."


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