The blast in 59320 Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train took place in morning between 9:30 am and 10 am on March 7, which became the headline of every news channel and left the country shocked. Nine people were severely injured when the incident occurred near Jabdi railway station in Madhya Pradesh. The injured were taken to the civil hospital nearby.
1/ Unusual Incident of Explosion in Passenger Train 59320 on RTM Divn. of WR at around 09.45 hrs 4 person injured
B/W Bjopal-Ujjain pic.twitter.com/qvmOlhAIab
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) March 7, 2017
The relief giving news at that time was that there was no casualty. This news was given by Western Railway through tweet.
3/3 No casualty. Detailed investigation of incidence of blast in general coach of 59320 in Ratlam Div being done by RPF/GRP @RailMinIndia
— Western Railway (@WesternRly) March 7, 2017
CCTV footage helped the police a lot to reach to the criminals. The footage near the place of incident helped the police to identify the suspects. Two of the suspects were arrested in Kanpur and one in Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. While two were holed up in Lucknow, Madhya Pradesh police arrested three more.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said “Questioning of the arrested suspects is on, could be linked to ISIS”. The interrogation of three men by MP police helped with two other men involved in the blast.
An operation was started to bring the men out of the house in Thakurganj on the outskirts of Lucknow, who were holed up in Lucknow. It was later revealed that there was only one man in the house named Saifullah. At around 5:30 pm on March 7, police dialed his brother in an attempt to get him to surrender. After connecting with Kanpur-based Khalid, the police slid the mobile phone under a door. As Khalid tearfully begged his brother to surrender, he reportedly replied, “I won’t, I want martyrdom”.
Senior police officer Daljit Chaudhary said, “In the darkness, we had suspected there were two terror suspects, but it is confirmed now that there was only one man”. Aseem Arun, a senior officer of the Anti-Terror Squad, said, “We used micro-tube cameras for recon of the site. The image was not clear, hence thought there were two terrorists. But it turned out that there was only one.” According to the police sources, at least 20 commandos had been involved in the operation.
Police used various ways (like throwing chilli bombs and tear gas bombs) to force Saifullah out of the house but nothing worked. Then in the firing which took place multiple times in the 12 hour encounter wounded the suspect and when commandos entered the house at 3 am, he was discovered dead with arms including pistol, a revolver, a knife and a ISIS flag.
Another shocking news came in the afternoon on March 8 that all the men arrested including one dead in Lucknow were a new cell of the terror group ISIS and were planning a “major attack” within a month. According to the investigators, the group organised an explosion on a train yesterday as “practice” for a possible terror strike on a Sufi shrine in Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh. The police learnt that the house in which Saifullah hid was rented six months ago to four young men by a man called Badshah, who works in Saudi Arabia and had told neighbours that they were students.
All the men arrested so far are Muslim and in their 20s. The head of the group has been identified as Atif Muzzaffar, who was among three men arrested in Madhya Pradesh.
It was later discovered that Saifullah, the young man who was shot dead on the outskirts of Lucknow in a lengthy operation by commandos was a “self-radicalised ISIS operative.” Along with eight other young men, he belonged to a “self-proclaimed ISIS cell” that had no external support or funding, said senior police officer Daljit Choudhary.
Sources in the National Investigation Agency said the group had a handler, most likely based abroad, of as yet undetermined nationality. The group had been active for at least six months in planning attacks and that its ringleader, Atif Muzzaffar, is a dropout from Aligarh Muslim University.
Apart from Saifullah, six members have been arrested, including two of his cousins who lived in Kanpur. The others were caught in Madhya Pradesh, where the group is accused of planting a low-intensity bomb on a train. Sources also said that the group met the pattern of ISIS cells busted in cities like Hyderabad who were guided, mainly online, by a handler abroad, asked to organise weapons locally, and then select targets.
Saifullah, who was shot dead in an operation has been 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 explaining that he had no idea about his son’s enlisting for terror activities.
What made 22-year-old Saifullah to go against the country?
Having dropped out the Bachelor of Commerce course after his second year, Saifullah had gone to Mumbai two months ago. He told his family that the trip was for Visa since he wanted to go Saudi Arabia. “Perhaps this is where he met those ho brainwashed him. I want the police to find them and punish them” said his brother Khalid Mohammad.
“Saifullah was a peaceful man and used to often pray at the local madrasa. Also, there was never any indication that he would take such an extreme step,” one of his neighbours told.