Man planning 'lone-wolf' attacks on security forces helped kin of slain SIMI activists: MP ATS

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Bhopal, Jul 8 (PTI) A 34-year-old man arrested for allegedly planning "lone-wolf" attacks on security forces was helping families of eight SIMI activists killed in an encounter with police in 2016, a senior official of the Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad said on Monday.

The ATS last week arrested Faizan Sheikh, a mechanic who was influenced by the ideologies of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Islamic State (IS), from the communally-sensitive Khandwa town.

"Sheikh was bringing together and helping the families of SIMI activists killed in an encounter with police. He conducted recees to carry out lone-wolf attacks on police personnel in Khandwa town," Inspector General (IG-ATS) Ashish told PTI.

The accused was arrested on July 4 and remanded to ATS custody for five days, he said.

The IG, however, denied that Sheikh wanted to avenge the death of SIMI activists with plans to attack the police.

Sheikh was highly radicalised by the ideology of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he said.

The ATS recovered four mobile phones, a pistol, live cartridges, and literature and videos of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, IM and IS from Sheikh.

He has been booked under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the official said.

According to ATS sources, Sheikh was desperate to get arms and ammunition to carry out the lone-wolf attacks on security personnel to establish himself as bigger than IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and jailed SIMI and IM terror operative Abu Faisal, aka Doctor, who is currently in the Bhopal jail.

Sheikh was allegedly in touch with gunrunners and SIMI operatives outside Madhya Pradesh, sources said.

He was on the radar of the ATS for being in regular touch with members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), they said. PTI LAL ARU