Pune: “Currently I am doing a course in nursing, but I may attempt the UPSC exams in future to become an IPS officer. I was socially ostracised while studying in Pune because of regular questioning by NIA officials in 2017. A lady NIA officer used to come to my college and question me. I was facing a social stigma in college because of these interrogations,” said Sadiya Anwar Shaikh (18), who was questioned by Kashmir police for ten days at a woman police station in Srinagar after the intelligence input that she could be a suicide bomber who would strike on Republic Day.
Shaikh was handed over to her parents by Kashmir police on Saturday. She and her mother conducted a press conference at Patrakar Bhavan here on Monday.
“The police didn’t arrest or detain me. I myself went to them after I read the news that I am a suspected suicide bomber,” said Shaikh. “I took admission to a nursing course in a Kashmir-based college. On January 16, I went to Srinagar with my mother and a day earlier, I informed my friend to make some arrangements for us. I was then staying with my friend in South Kashmir. On January 25, I read an article that an 18-year-old Pune girl Sadiya Anwar Shaikh is a suspected suicide bomber. I tried to contact my mother but couldn’t as mobile and Internet services were suspended in Kashmir a day before Republic Day.”
“As I was unable to contact anybody I decided to approach the police and boarded a vehicle to go to Srinagar. Our vehicle was stopped at Awantipora. During checking I revealed to them my identity after which they frisked me and started questioning,” added Shaikh.
Shaikh’s mother said, “My daughter has done nothing wrong. She was initially doing a pharmacy course at Inamdar College. The regular questioning by ATS and NIA officials during college hours forced us to remove her from the college. We were fed up and wanted to send her to a place where nobody will question her. Later, through her friend we came to know about JK CET and managed to get her admission to a nursing college.”
However, Muneer Khan, IGP (Inspector General of Police), Kashmir refuted the claims made by Shaikh that she approached the police. He said, “We have detained her from Bijbehara and she is making false claims. After receiving the input about her that she may carry out a suicide blast on Republic Day we conducted a detailed investigation on those lines and found that she hadn’t planned any such activities and released her.”
Khan added, “But we told her mother to take care of her as she gets influenced easily. She doesn’t have strong opinion of her own. She is a potential target who can be influenced easily and can be used to carry out terror-related activities.”
“She is fond of Facebook and gets in touch with many Kashmiri boys. She took admission to a nursing college after making a query with one of her male friends in Kashmir.”
Sheikh was on the radar of a central agency after her arrest and release in Maharashtra for her pro-ISIS views in 2015.