In a shocking turn of events, the details of the charge sheet in the mass temple Prasad poisoning attempt has come out, 6 months after the arrest of the ISIS members involved. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which arrested 10 ISIS terrorists in January, stated in the charge sheet that the accused had attempted to poison the Maha Prasad at the 400 year old Shree Mumbreshwar temple in Mumbra. The ATS had foiled their plans of a bio-terror attack against the devotees.
According to one of the terrorists arrested, Talha Potrik, he had attempted to poison the prasad during the Shrimadh Bhagwat Katha organised at the temple in December last year, wherein 40,000 devotees had consumed the Prasad. He had revealed to the ATS team that the group had gathered information about the catering staff present on that day. However, since their attempt was unsuccessful, ISIS terrorist Potrik had even confessed to deciding to execute the plan of poisoning the prasad on March 4, on the day of Shiv Ratri, but thankfully, the group had been arrested before that, thwarting the bio-terror attack.
Besides Potrik the other accused have been identified as Abu Hamza, Mohsin Khan alias Abu Marya, Atai Waris Abdul Rashid Shaikh alias Mazhar, Mohammad Takky Khan alias Abu Khalid, Mushahed Ul-Islam, Jamman Khutepad alias Abu Kital, Salman Khan alias Abu Ubeda, and Fahad Ansari. The tenth accused is a minor.
According to the charge sheet, the group was inspired by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is an accused in terror-related cases. The charge sheet read, “Several videos featuring Naik and his images have been recovered from the social media profiles of the accused.”
Zakir Naik is a fundamentalist preacher whose views on Islam and terrorism are widely perceived as an encouragement for people to pick up arms. The budding terrorists view Zakir Naik as a figure directing them along the path of their god, which can be done through mass destruction. His sermons incite and influence the viewers, encouraging them towards terrorism; as they had, during the recent Sri Lankan terror attacks. The suicide bomber and the mastermind behind the attack, Moulvi Zahran Hashim, was inspired by Zakir Naik.
Moreover, Zakir Naik is said to have influenced various other terror attacks all over the world. This includes, Najibulla Zazi, the terror suspect accused of conspiring to bomb the New York subway in 2009, Dr Kafeel Ahmed, who attacked the Glasgow airport in 2007, and the 7/11 serial train blasts accused Rahil Sheikh. The chief of Hyderabad module of ISIS, Ibrahim Yazdhani, was deeply influenced by Naik. During the Dhaka attacks in 2016, investigation had revealed that 2 of the 7 attackers who killed 20 people in Dhaka were ‘inspired by his preaching about Islam’.
Zakir Naik’s extremist teachings were followed by these ISIS members. The terror attacks in the past indicate how dangerous this mindset has been. Had the ATS not thwarted the terror plan, thousands of worshippers would have died.
The ATS had also recorded statements of 6 people who claimed that the accused had tried to radicalize them. The group had procured information about the procedure to make explosives and poison through the ‘Military Science’ channel of Daesh on Telegram.
The charge sheet further stated, “Mohsin Khan alias Abu Marya had organised a group, Ummat-E-Mohammaddiya, on social media to share the ideology of Daesh and only reliable persons with similar thoughts were admitted in the group. Members of the group were in contact with foreign-based handlers. Marya had also attended physical training sessions conducted at a stadium at Kausa- Mumbra to tackle the hardships in the Daesh battlefield. He was also a member of the Telegram groups Wakkunuma- Assadikin and Iqwa-F-Deen.”
Apart from the temple, the ISIS affiliates had planned to target a hospital as well. The ISIS handler was in touch with Jainam Kuttepadi, who worked as a pharmacist at a Mumbai-central based BMC hospital. According to ATS, Kuttepadi revealed that he had planned to poison the medicines at the hospital by pouring a dangerous chemical on the medicines, causing mass casualties.
These individuals have been inspired by the ISIS ideology and are further attempting to radicalize people. Moreover, inspired by Zakir Naik’s preaching, who encourages the followers of Islam to indulge in terrorism, these ISIS members are fatal to the peace and tranquility in the nation. For now, these terror suspects have been subdued, but the thousands more who are inspired by the same ideology propagated by the likes of Zakir Naik still pose a threat to the nation.
The world as we know, is fraught with conspiracies and plots such as this one, in the name of a theocratic organization. ISIS is essentially a theocratic organization, causing terror attacks on other religions to establish an Ummah, or single Islamic community.
The world is gripped with such a dire situation and yet, production house such as Netflix and others stay off the topic. They would rather make TV series such as Leila, to depict a Hindu oppressive state, which portrays that in the name of religion, the individuals aren’t given their basic rights. However, such an oppressive Hindu state is a piece of fiction at best, unrelated to the current scenario and unlikely to happen in the near future. The pressing need is to acknowledge the real perils of an Islamist state, for which ISIS is orchestrating terror attacks on a daily basis.
This lack of initiative by the production houses to portray the facts has led to obliviousness among the individuals; and thus, most of the citizens are blissfully unaware as to the perils around them.
In the past few years, there is a rising fear of being labeled an “Islamophobic”, be it in individuals or organizations. Which is why, to avoid the labeling, the films often portray different outlooks through their content, targeting other religions and staying completely off the topic of “Islamist terrorism”. In order to do this, the production houses often come off as showing absurd content, which is completely in contrary to the real facts. The episode of Priyanka Chopra starrer Quantico, in which her character uncovers a plot to launch a nuclear attack in USA, planned by Hindus, was one such example, as never in the history of the world, has a Hindu planned a terror attack on American soil.
Thus, in order to be politically correct and ‘neutral’, the obvious facts go unstated and are overlooked. The need of the hour is to shed the “fear of being labeled an Islamophobic”, and produce fact based content on the pressing matters of terrorism. The perpetrators of these attacks are the Islamist organizations, in furtherance to their theocratic ideals and there are no two ways about this.