In a big breakthrough, a team of Delhi Police Special Cell arrested most wanted terrorist Abdul Subhan Qureshi, nipping the revival bid of banned terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).
In a big breakthrough, a team of Delhi Police Special Cell arrested most wanted terrorist Abdul Subhan Qureshi, nipping the revival bid of banned terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM). Qureshi was allegedly involved in the serial blasts that ripped Gujarat’s Ahmedabad in 2008. The alleged terrorist is also believed to have played a key role in the training of several SIMI members. Often termed India’s ‘Osama Bin Laden’, Qureshi was on the run for close to a decade now. Besides his involvement in terror attacks, Qureshi is also said to have played a key role in SIMI’s growing links with the global jihadist movement.
Details of the Operation
The Special Cell was working on the leads from interrogation of many arrested accused having links with IM and SIMI after the escape of Qureshi in year 2008. It emerged that the accused Qureshi, alias, Tauqeer was indoctrinating the unemployed youth among the community to fill the space left void by the fall of the top leaders of Indian Mujahideen. He was planning the revival of the weak and scattered network of Indian Mujahideen.
Tip-off and arrest
On 20 January 2018, police received specific information Abdul Rehman alias Tauqeer was coming to Delhi, in the late evening hours, in a white coloured-Santro Car to meet an associate in Paper Market of Gazipur, Delhi. A police team was formed and the alleged terrorist was apprehended near the paper market, Gazipur after a brief exchange of fire at about 08.15 pm.
Qureshi – an Engineer, with gift of gab in English
Every time the security agencies cracked down on the SIMI or IM, Qureshi vanished without leaving any trace of his next move. The alleged terrorist has good command over English language, a deep knowledge of local as well as international issues pertaining to Muslims and most importantly, a gift of gab to influence and motivate impressionable minds into waging Jihad. He had received Sound Technological knowledge and passed Microsoft Certified Software Engineering (MCSC), besides doing Industrial Electronics from Bhartiya Vidhyapeeth, Mumbai and hardware networking course.
A look into his life belies the theory that terrorists come from uneducated and deprived backgrounds. The subject did his schooling from a Christian Missionary School, Byculla, Mumbai. In 1992, he got admission to Bhartiya Vidyapeeth, Navi Mumbai and in 1995, he completed diploma in industrial Electronics. Since his teenage years, Qureshi started visiting the Muslim charitable Library situated near his house. He used to read many newspapers and took a keen interest in issues related to Islam. He also started taking part in social gatherings on religious issues.
After completing his education in 1995, Qureshi started working as a Customer Support Engineer at a company in Fort, Mumbai. During this period, he had also attended weekly programs of SIMI in Kurla, Mumbai and came in contact with Riyaz Bhatkal, then a student in Byculla College, Mumbai.
Marriage and raicalisation of Qureshi
Qureshi became an ‘Ansar’ of SIMI in 1996. He got married in February 1999 and also switched his job location to Andheri East, Mumbai. By 2000, he had transformed into a highly radical youth, totally disillusioned with the establishment and determined to follow the ideology of Jihad. By now he had become a prominent member of SIMI and the ‘Shura’ of SIMI assigned him the task of editing the English edition of its magazine ‘Islamic Movement’. He left his well-paid job in Mumbai and moved to Zakir Nagar, Delhi. During his stay in Delhi, he came very close to Safdar Nagori, the then General Secretary of Central Advisory Committee of SIMI.
In 2001-02, after SIMI was banned in September 2001, some activists of SIMI were arrested in Surat, Gujarat and Tauqeer’s name also figured during the investigation. In order to evade Surat Police, he shifted his base to Bijapur, Karnataka. Safdar Nagori appointed him “Head Ansar” of Karnataka operations. While staying in Bijapur, he frequently travelled to Bhatkal and revived his association with Riyaz Bhatkal and also came in contact with Iqbal Bhatkal. At that time Bhatkal was the nerve center of radical youths and Abdul Subhan, who was by now second in command of SIMI, became a co-founder of Indian Mujahideen (IM) along with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. By 2005, after reviving SIMI in South India and forging properties with IM, he diverted his energies to Maharastra and Gujarat.
On 11th July 2006, SIMI/IM executed serial blasts in local trains in Mumbai. Subsequently, Tauqeer’s name figured in this case and he fled from Mumbai to Karnataka.
Subsequent to the arrest of Safdar Nagauri, Abdul Suhan Qureshi, alias Tauqeer, became the head of SIMI and took the initiative to engineer 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. For this purpose, he contacted his associate Riyaz Bhatkal and went to meet the latter in Pune in May/June 2008 to share the details of his plan and offered his team to physically execute the blasts.