New Delhi: The body of Saifullah, the young man shot dead in an anti-terror operation near Lucknow yesterday, was refused by his father, Sartaj, who lives in Kanpur.
“A traitor can’t be our son. We are Indians, we were born here, our forefathers were born here. One who indulges in anti-national activities can’t be our son… we won’t accept his body,” he said to media, explaining that he had no idea about his son’s enlisting for terror activities.
Saifullah was allegedly one of nine members of a newly-formed ISIS cell. He was killed by commandos in a house on the outskirts of Lucknow early this morning. For 12 hours, commandos tried to capture him alive- they used chilli grenades smoke him out of the house, organised for his brother to talk him on the phone. But Saifullah refused to surrender, telling his sibling that he was “seeking martyrdom.” The house he was killed in was rented a few months ago from a man who works in Saudi Arabia, said sources.
Saifullah was in his 20s and a resident of Kanpur. Two of his cousins, who also lived in Kanpur, were arrested yesterday.
The nine members of the alleged ISIS gang, all Muslims in their 20s, met through chat rooms after discovering ISIS propaganda online, said sources in the National Investigation Agency or NIA, the country’s main counter-terror body which is investigating the case. They were being monitored for a while online, they added, without sharing more details.
The men allegedly planted a low-intensity bomb on a train running between Bhopal and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Nine people were injured in that blast last morning and the state government has described it as a terror attack. Three men were then arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police based in part on footage from security cameras. Their interrogation allegedly revealed the location of Saifullah in Lucknow and his cousins, Imran and Faisal, in Kanpur.
The bomb that was used on the Madhya Pradesh train was assembled in the Lucknow house. Other alleged members of the ISIS cell then left to plant it, while Saifullah was asked to remain there.