Tuesday 18 January 2022
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Mustaqim to Abu Yusuf: Making of a terrorist

The ATS team has camped at Utraula in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district to investigate the network of ISIS militant Mustaqim alias Abu Yusuf alias Baba, who was arrested in yesterday. The ATS kept the terrorist Mustaqim in a secret place last night. The ATS has interrogated three fireworks traders and a bicycle mechanic in custody.

The ATS is likely to raid some shops in Utraula. The DIG of Devipatan division reached the Barhaya Bhaisahi village of Uttraula Kotwali late last night and inquired about the whereabouts of Mustaqim.

Police’s Special Cell and the ATS apprehended terrorist Mustaqim after a brief encounter in an area (Ridge Road) between Dhaulakuan and Karol Bagh in Delhi on 22 August. Two pressure cookers, IEDs, pistols and cartridges were found in his possession. Mustaqim misled the police initially but confessed later.

Among his other targets, Mustaqim wanted to destroy the Ram Mandir coming up in Ayodhya since the laying of its foundation stone by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mustaqim had told the ATS his name was Abu Yusuf. He said he was a resident of Village Badhya Bhaisahi of Utraula Kotwali.

Before the encounter, with information from Delhi, the ATS and police conducted a search operation in Village Bhaishahi from noon to late night on Friday. They found 9 kg of explosives, lithium batteries, an ISIS flag, metal box, two jackets meant for fidayeen (suicide bomber), inflammatory literature and passports of wife and the four of Mustaqim.

A special team of ATS reached Village Bhaisahi at 9 PM. A bomb squad and a dog squad were pressed into service.

During interrogation, Mustaqim told the ATS the names of vendors of ammunition. At his instance, the ATS picked up Manihar, Mobin, Farooq and Wasim, residents of Gonda Mor Gandhinagar in Uttaraula.

The ATS made Mustaqim and the three people above face one another in custody in Uttraula Kotwali. The interrogation went on for about two-and-a-half hours. Later, the ATS took Mustaqim to an undisclosed location.

Muslim clerics, social media users had provoked Mustaqim

Mustaqim used to follow arguments on social media on political topics with religious hues. He acquired a habit of listening to provocative sermons of clerics for three hours every day with earphones on. He spent some time reading books on Islam too.

He motivated all members of his family to offer namaz (salah) five times a day. He himself would do it too. He said women must observe purdah. He did not let women or girls of the family leave home without hijab or burqa.

Mustaqim has four sisters, three of whom are married. His father Kafeel said his would talk to his sisters every day over the phone. Mustaqim’s elder sister is married in Krishnanagar of Dhebarua police station located near the Nepal border. He frequented this place.

The ATS is investigating Mustaqim’s Nepal connection too.

How Mustaqim became Abu Yusuf

Mustaqim has a Mohammed Yusuf. After the Islamic indoctrination that stresses the use of Arabic, he thought his name should be “father of Yusuf” and thus he renamed himself as Abu Yusuf. On being arrested, he told the ATS he was Abu Yusuf. The real name Mustaqim came up in the course of his interrogation.

Today, as the police withdrew from the village of Badhya Bhasahi, there is a pall of gloom that has descended on the hamlet. The doors of most of the houses in the village are shut. No resident came out when reporters arrived in the village.

Villagers avoided questions from journalists. Kafeel and his wife Ayesha tried to brush aside the culpability of their son, saying their community had “legitimate grievances”.

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