The Delhi Police Special Cell Monday claimed that a 28-year-old UK national, arrested on Sunday, is a suspected Al Qaeda operative who allegedly “attempted to set up a terror module in eastern India with the aim of recruiting Rohingya Muslims to fight against the Myanmar Army”.
The man, Samiun Rahman alias Shumon Haq alias Raju Bhai, was arrested from east Delhi’s Shakarpur bus stand. News of his arrest came hours after the Centre submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court, describing the Rohingyas as a “very serious and potential threat to national security”.
DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwah said that Rahman was staying in India with a fake identity as Shumon Haq alias Raju Bhai of Kishanganj, Bihar. “A country-made pistol of 9 mm calibre, laptop and mobile phone have been recovered and a case under relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2008 and Arms Act has been registered. Investigation has been taken up to unearth the entire Al Qaeda module developed by him,” said Kushwah.
The Special Cell claimed that the 26-year-old had visited Morocco, Mauritania, Turkey, Syria, Bangladesh and India for “suspected terror activities”. Kushwah said, “In July this year, information was received that one Raju Bhai of terrorist organisation Al Qaeda was trying to set up its base in Delhi to carry out terrorist activities in India. The team managed to pin him down on Sunday evening.”
The Special Cell claimed that during interrogation, Rahman revealed he was a resident of London and had been an active Al Qaeda militant since 2013. Police also claimed that he had fought in Syria as a member of Jabhat Al Nusra — an affiliate of Al Qaeda there — against the country’s government forces.
Police further claimed that in 2013, Rahman was ‘influenced’ by the ideology of Al Qaeda after being convicted of rash driving. After leaving prison, he joined an Al Qaeda group and received three weeks of training at their camp in Syria.
While in Syria, Rahman came to know of the Rohingyas and the ‘atrocities’ faced by them, police said. “With his Bangladesh background, he was selected to raise a fighter group there. In 2014, he arrived in Bangladesh to radicalise youths to join Al Qaeda with the help of one Yasin (an old Al Qaeda cadre),” said a police officer.
Rahman visited Silhet, Nabiganj, Dhaka and other places and radicalised over a dozen youths in Bangladesh, who were eventually supposed to enter Myanmar, claimed police, adding that he was arrested under suspicion of terror activities in 2014 in Bangladesh and was released on bail in April 2017.
Police claimed that he remained in contact with his outfit through Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram and, after being released on bail, he contacted a Syrian national, Mohammad Jowlani, head of the Al Qaeda (Al Nusra front), who directed him to go to India.
“In July 2017, he entered India with the objective of setting up base in Mizoram and Manipur to fight for Rohingyas, raise funds and incite youths to fight for the cause of Rohingyas and facilitate their entry from Mizoram and Manipur side,” claimed Kushwah.
During this period, he stayed at various madarsas in Kishanganj (Bihar), Hazari Bagh (Jharkhand), and NCR, and it is believed that he was in touch with a number of youths to incite them to join Al Qaeda, police said. He visited Delhi frequently for this cause, police said, adding that he was being assisted by various Al Qaeda cadres who are being identified.
Police added that Rahman’s father, now deceased, was a native of Bangladesh. He shifted to London in 1960 and Rahman was brought up there. His mother is a homemaker and his brother and three sisters are all employed in London, said police.