A local court on Monday remanded to 12-day police custody the two Islamic State (IS) suspects arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Rajkot and Bhavnagar on Sunday.
Police said the two brothers — Wasim Ramodiya and Naeem Ramodiya — were learnt to be planning to conduct lone-wolf attacks in the state.
Wasim and Naeem, who hold MCA and BCA degrees, respectively, were said to be in contact with their IS handlers through social media. They were reportedly plotting to attack popular hilltop Chotila temple and other places in the state.
The judicial magistrate’s court granted the 12-day remand till March 10. Police sources claimed that the brothers confessed they intended to make bombs to carry out blasts in the Saurashtra region.
“We will now thoroughly interrogate them to get a complete picture, whether they were alone or in touch with any more youth from the state, where did they source material for building explosives and their detailed plans,” ATS Deputy Superintendent of Police R.D. Faldu said.
The ATS had recovered 98 grams of gun powder, two face masks, a battery used for making bombs and about a dozen crude bombs from the two. Police also found eight issues of an IS magazine “Dabik” and videos of techniques for making bombs and conducting guerrilla warfare stored in their two laptops.
Police even found about 173 speeches of Mufti Kasim in mobile phones recovered from their possession. Mufti Kasim was arrested from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh by the National Investigation Agency for links with IS.
The two suspects were sent to remand without being represented by any defence lawyer as the lawyers in the local court refused to represent the brothers.
Meanwhile, the issue has assumed political overtones in the state with Leader of Opposition in the assembly Shankersinh Vaghela alleging that such activities had been going on in the state since 2000 under the protection of the ruling BJP.
“If they were in touch with their handlers since 2015, why were they not picked up earlier? What was government IB doing till now?” Vaghela said.
The state government, however, rejected the allegations.
“The nationalistic government of the BJP since 2002 is committed to see that anyone involved in such activities is punished. Our police have gone from Kerala to Azamgarh to nab the culprits of terror plots and got them punished according to the law,” Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said in the House.
“The way hanging of Kasab was delayed shows the mindset of Congress,” he added.