'Sadiya influenced by Wani, but wasn't planning blast'

Prateek Goyal
Saturday, 27 January 2018

18-year-old was detained in J&K following an alert by IGP, Kashmir

Pune: Eighteen-year-old Sadiya Sheikh, who has been detained by the Kashmir Police after an intelligence input that she was suspected to be planning a bomb blast at a Republic Day venue in Kashmir, was influenced by Burhan Wani, the slain commander of Kashmiri separatist militant group Hizbul Mujahiddin, a police official said.
A Kashmir police official privy to the investigation said, "She came in contact with two stone pelters from South Kashmir on Facebook, one of whom identified himself as the brother of Wani. The girl seems to believe in the idea of Jihad, as she defended it during interrogation. However, she doesn't seem to have had any plan of carrying out a suicide explosion on Republic Day in the Valley."
The police official, requesting anonymity, said, "The girl was in Kashmir from the last 15 days and was residing at a house in Bijbehara, a town near Anantnag. Her mother had come here to drop her. This was not her first visit to Kashmir as last year also she came to Jammu, but was sent back to Pune from Jammu station. However, there are many more things that need to be revealed in the case, such as what was her primary motive behind her stay in Kashmir, what was she doing at the house of a local Kashmiri, what is the exact connection between the two stone pelters and her, etc. We are also going to investigate if there was any love angle with any of the boys."
Muneer Khan, IGP, Kashmir zone, said, "We are now going to look at each and every aspect of this case because the dots are not getting connected. We are going to investigate her past record. We need to find out the purpose of her visit and we are also going to question those two boys. This case needs a detailed investigation before we come to any conclusion."
It is significant to note that an alert was issued by the IGP, Kashmir, on Tuesday regarding the 18-year-old Pune resident, who was suspected to carry out a suicide explosion at a Republic Day venue in Kashmir. 
According to information provided by Jammu and Kasmir Police, Sheikh was on the radar of a central agency after her arrest and release in Maharashtra for her pro-ISIS views in 2015. As she switched off her phone on the way to J&K, the central agency sent a general alert to all states. She was finally traced to a house in Bijbehara in South Kashmir.

Police keep watch on her house
Ever since the J&K police issued the alert, officials from Pune city police, local intelligence bureau (LIB), ATS and IB have been keeping a watch on Sadiya's house. Her mother said, "I will meet her and only then can I say anything about her stay there. But she has been deradicalised by Islamic scholars and ATS officials also counselled her. I am very disturbed for the last few days after news of her presence in the Valley." The girl's mother stays at her maternal house after getting separated from her husband. The 18-year-old is admitted at a pharmacy college and had also joined a call centre recently.  

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