Special Task Force claims it has recovered explosives from the duo and foiled attacks planned by them
The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested two members of the Popular Front of India from Kerala on allegations that they were planning to target leaders of “Hindu” outfits and strike at “sensitive” spots in the State with terror attacks.
The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force claimed that it had recovered heavy explosives from the duo and foiled attacks planned by them.
The PFI on Wednesday dismissed the Uttar Pradesh police claims and alleged that the two Kerala youths were picked up by the State police and illegally detained days before the formal arrest while they were on their way to Mumbai-bound train from Bihar.
Identified as Ansad Badruddin and Firoz Khan of Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode districts in Kerala, the accused were arrested near the Kukrail tri-junction in the Gudamba area of Lucknow at 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh STF said.
Sixteen high grade explosive devices with battery detonators and red wires, one bundle red wire, a 32 bore pistol and seven live cartridges were recovered from the duo, the police alleged.
The STF alleged that the two were assembling deadly weapons and explosives to eliminate top office-bearers of Hindutva outfits as well as strike at some “very important and sensitive” places in Uttar Pradesh.
Those arrested are linked to the PFI outfit, said Prashant Kumar, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director-General of Police, Law and Order.
Mr. Kumar said they were arrested on inputs that PFI members were under a criminal conspiracy forming a terror group to challenge the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country, wage war against the government and spread social discord.
Anis Ahmed, general secretary, Popular Front of India, termed the STF allegations a “bizarre and fake story,” and said Badruddin and Khan were PFI members touring West Bengal and Bihar for the outfit’s expansion.
The STF claimed that the two were also recruiting members in different parts of India for their plans.
On February 11, the two boarded a train from Katihar in Bihar at 5.40 a.m. to Mumbai. According to their family, on February 11 evening, they spoke to them for the final time and their phone went out of reach after that, Mr. Ansari said in a statement.
On February 16, the family members registered a missing complaint regarding the two at a police station in Kerala and after that the Uttar Pradesh STF hurriedly called a press conference and presented it as a story of a foiled terror attack, Mr. Ansari said.
“It is apparent that on February 11 evening when the train was passing through Uttar Pradesh, the STF kidnapped the two from a railway station in the State and tortured them in illegal detention,” Mr. Ansari alleged.