Two members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) who were planning a series of terrorist attacks at various places in the country were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police”s Special Task Force here on Tuesday with a huge quantity of explosives, a senior officer said.
The two are residents of Kerala and were recruiting members in different states to carry out the attacks, Additional Director General of Police (ADG), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said.
“Ansad Badruddin and Firoz Khan have been arrested from Kukrail trisection in Gudamba area here. With their arrest, the STF has foiled a series of terrorist attacks in various parts of the country on Basant Panchmi by terrorist organisation PFI. A huge quantity of high-quality explosives has been recovered from them,” the officer told reporters in Lucknow.
Explosive devices including battery and red wire, a .32 bore pistol, seven live cartridges, cash, PAN card, four ATM cards, pen drives, metro card, driving licenses and Aadhar cards were recovered from their possession, he said.
The STF was getting information for the past few days that PFI members were involved in a criminal conspiracy to challenge unity, integrity and harmony of the country and wage a war against the government, the ADG said.
“For this, they were gathering deadly weapons and explosives and planning to attack sensitive places in UP and prominent office bearers of Hindu organisations. We received information that they are recruiting members in different states for this purpose,” he said.
“We activated the STF and other agencies and received a tip-off that on February 11 some persons will be coming to UP. However, they could not be located.
“On Tuesday, we again received information and that the two will be meeting and on the occasion of Basant Panchami they could carry out a series of blasts at different places and kill many office-bearers (of Hindu organisations) and people to create fear and terror in their minds, and social and religious hatred,” Mr Kumar said.
During interrogation, the two told the police that their main objective was to train physically strong youths of a particular community by brainwashing them and use them, he said.
An FIR against them is being lodged by the STF in Lucknow, he added.
The PFI has been accused of funding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country earlier this year and the UP police had sought a ban on the outfit.