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Wanted Al-Qaida Militant Recruiting Rohingya Refugees Arrested in Delhi

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| September 19 , 2017 , 10:15 IST

The issue of the 'stateless' Rohingya refugees has raised several concerns across the world, and India has also called for their expulsion, a contrast to the generally welcoming stance of India towards refugees fleeing persecution.

In a major breakthrough for the Indian intelligence forces, the Delhi Police special cell arrested 28-year-old Samiun Rahman, al Qaida's key recruiter in India, who had been tasked with recruiting Rohingya refugees to fight against India and the Myanmar army.

A British national, Rahman had allegedly set up base in Delhi, Mizoram, and Manipur to conduct his recruitment activities.

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"He was setting up a base in Delhi and two northeastern states and preparing the recruits to carry out strikes in India and fight the Myanmar army. He was being assisted by al-Qaida cadre in Delhi, Hazaribagh and other places in India, who are being identified," said deputy commissioner (special cell) Pramod Kushwah.

Described as a 'battle-hardened mujahideen' Rahman had previously fought for al Qaida's al-Nusra front in Syria before he was sent to Bangladesh as a recruiter. In Bangladesh, Rahman was arrested on charges of terror financing but was released in April 2017 after which he was sent to India to recruit Rohingya refugees by the Nusra commander Mohammad Jowlani.

Rahman was arrested from east Delhi's Vikas Marg while he was trying to contact a recruit, police said. He was found carrying a voter ID card with the name of Shumon Haq, and residence of Kishanganj, Bihar.

"We have recovered US $2,000, a laptop, a 9mm pistol and magazines apart from Indian and Bangladeshi SIM cards. Rahman has also been to Morocco, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Turkey and for terror activities. He has been taken on remand for interrogation," Kushwaha told TOI.

During interrogation, Rahman revealed that he had entered India in July 2017, tasked to raise funds and incite youths to fight for the Rohingya Muslims cause and facilitate their entry into Myanmar from northeastern states of India.

So far, Rahman had tapped around 12 Rohingya refugees for the cause from Kashmir, North East India, Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand, he said during interrogation, adding that he stayed at various madrassas to identify and access vulnerable youths.

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Rahman remained in touch with al-Qaida and al-Nusra commanders and outfit members using secured apps such as 'protective text' and social networking apps Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram, which he also used to cultivate and mould youths. 

The Delhi Police special cell received a tip-off regarding Rahman's activities two months ago and since then had been tracking him, before arresting him on Sunday while he was waiting for a contact.

"A case under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008 and Arms Act has been registered against him and investigations have begun to unearth the entire 'al-Qaida' module developed by him," deputy commissioner (special cell) Pramod Kushwah said.