In a one-of-its-kind major crackdown and anti-terror operation, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) on Saturday conducted 30 simultaneous raids in over 20 districts across the state.
During the raids, more than 70 people were detained under suspicion of aiding the activities of the banned terror organisation, Popular Front of India (PFI).
The police also arrested two ‘wanted’ members of PFI in connection with spreading its ideology in the country, and actively engaging in expanding the front’s cadre base.
Parvez Ahmed and Raees Ahmad, both of whom carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on their heads, were arrested in Varanasi by the ATS. They were wanted in a case registered in the Lohta Police Station in 2022.
Additional DG of Police Naveen Arora said that the duo was active in violence that was reported from various corners of the state during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019.
The ADG further said that over 30 teams took part in the state-wide raids.
Further, 11 people were detained for questioning in Shamli and 10 in Ghaziabad.
Similarly, nine others were taken into custody in Lucknow, eight in Varanasi, five in Bijnor, four in Meerut, three each in Barabanki, Azamgarh and Muzaffarnagar, two each in Bahraich, Deoria and Kanpur and one each in Sitapur, Balrampur, Siddarthnagar, Bulandshahr, Saharanpur, Moradadbad, Rampur and Amroha.
The detained people are being interrogated and their social media and other activities are being analysed by forensic teams, according to police sources.
The raids across 20 districts were carried out after 211 people were identified with the help of central agencies as those with possible terror links. Seventy other people are in custody, and are being interrogated.
Notably, the BJP government at the Centre had declared PFI and its eight ancillary organisations illegal in September 2022 for their activities promoting terror and communal disharmony. Since then, there have been nationwide crackdowns, including in UP, against the terror outfit and its associates.
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