'De-radicalised' Pune teen puts J&K cops on high alert

Prateek Goyal
Thursday, 25 January 2018

Pune: In a wireless message dated January 23, 2018, an intelligence input has been communicated from Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir zone, to all district senior superintendents (SSP) about an 18-year-old girl from Pune suspected of being a suicide bomber. 

Pune: In a wireless message dated January 23, 2018, an intelligence input has been communicated from Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir zone, to all district senior superintendents (SSP) about an 18-year-old girl from Pune suspected of being a suicide bomber. 

"There is a strong input that one Sadiya Anwar Sheikh, age about 18 years, a resident of Yerwada in Pune, Maharashtra, who is presently in the valley, may cause a suicide bomb explosion near or inside the Republic Parade venue in Kashmir valley. All are directed to please ensure that frisking of bodies at the venue is done meticulously and with utmost caution, so as to thwart the nefarious designs of the anti-national entities. Matter may please be treated as most urgent," the message issued by IGP Muneer Khan of Kashmir zone read. 

About Sheikh 
Speaking to Sakal Times over phone, Khan said, “We received the input and are going to verify. We will take care of security and will also do a thorough investigation in this regard.” 

Sheikh is the same girl who was questioned by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Pune in December 2015 after she was allegedly radicalised by ISIS sympathisers. However, the ATS later claimed to have de-radicalised the girl with the help of a few clerics. A source from Pune ATS confirmed, “This girl is missing from her house for the last one month." 

Pune connection 
A source in the police department revealed that Sheikh is a resident of Phulenagar, Yerwada. She changed her residence because of regular questioning by police. 

Maulana Qari Idriz, who assisted ATS in de-radicalising Sheikh, said, “I met the girl twice on the request of the ATS. She was initially inclined towards ISIS. ATS took my help to de-radicalise her and informed me later that the girl became normal and was convinced by our counseling.” 

Bhanu Pratap Barge, ACP, Pune Police ATS, who led the de-radicalisation campaign, was unavailable for comment. 

Ravindra Kadam, Joint Commissioner of Pune Police, said they are unaware of the intelligence inputs of Kashmir Police, but confirmed that the girl is from Pune. 

How 16-year-old Sadiya was radicalised 
- Sadiya Anwar Sheikh came to know about ISIS through a television documentary. 
- Searched about ISIS Facebook groups and came in contact with a person of Sri Lankan origin. 
- Started communicating through personal email id and was introduced to other people. 
- Came in contact with ISIS sympathiser Mohammad Sirajuddin in 2015, when she was 16. 
- In four months, she came in contact with 18 people including foreign nationals from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, England and Philippines. 
- Questioned by ATS after the arrest of Sirajuddin. 
- During a de-radicalisation procedure at ATS office in 2015-2016, Sheikh made a statement and said, “The people who are dying are innocent and this should not happen. I don’t know whether ISIS is doing right or wrong but if ISIS is doing wrong then other Ulemas are not doing anything to stop them. I was also doing wrong, but now I have come on the right track. ATS officers have helped me a lot.” 

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