Arrested From Deoband, Kashmiri Youths Confess To Links With Pulwama Attack Mastermind, Jaish-e-MohammadAqib (L) and Shahnawaz (R) were arrested from Deoband, Saharanpur by UP ATS (pic via Twitter)

On Sunday (2 February), the two Kashmiri youths, arrested by Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Friday (22 February) from Deoband in Saharanpur district of the state, had confessed to their links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and were possibly planning a terror strike, reports Times of India.

According to the report, the two youths - Shahnawaz Teli of Kulgam and Abdul Aqib Mallick of Pulwama - also admitted to have been in touch with Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, the Pulwama terror attack mastermind.

They confessed to their links with the terror outfit JeM during their interrogation by the UP director general of police (DGP) OP Singh. He spent four hours questioning them for a first-hand assessment of their involvement in terror activities.

Following the interrogation, UP police chief shared the information with his Jammu and Kashmir counterpart Dilbagh Singh.

“They have confessed to their links with JeM in front of me and have given some specific information based on which we are hopeful of some more recoveries in the near future,” DGP Singh was quoted in the report as saying.

“During interrogation, Shahnawaz said he had been in touch with terror outfits for 18 months while Aqib came into the scene six months ago,” said inspector general (IG) of police, ATS, Asim Arun, as reported by TOI.

Arun said Shahnawaz has also admitted to have been in touch with Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed in an encounter on 18 February.

The investigators also claimed of obtaining voice messages from one of the two accused in which he is heard talking about ‘bada kaam’ (something big) and ‘samaan’ (goods).

As per the report, the investigators said the conversation apparently relates to a major operation that the two were planning and ‘samaan’ was used for explosives.

UP ATS on Thursday (21 February) busted a terror module of JeM in a midnight raid in Deoband of Saharanpur district arresting the duo, Shahnawaz and Aqib based on inputs by an “alert student”.

The Darul Uloom Deoband, founded in 1866, is an Islamic school in Saharanpur where the Deobandi Islamic movement began. The school has been a centre of controversy due to fatwas by its scholars banning photography as un-Islamic, forbidding women to work together with men in public offices, and against Salman Rushdie. In 2007, Andrew Norfolk of The Times called Deobandis a "hardline islamic sect" expressing concern over their rising influence in the British mosques.

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