In shocking news, a group of terror suspects have been detained from Mumbra near Mumbai in January because they were planning to poison the maha prasad given out to devotees at the ancient Mumbreshwar temple. Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad which filed a charge sheet in a Mumbai court added in a statement.
As per the charge sheet, the terror group was highly influenced by the Islamic State and was an ardent follower controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
The social media profile of the accused disclosed several videos of Zakir Naik on their accounts. It has been learnt that they were allegedly planning to target 400-year-old Mumbreshwar temple in Mumbra and poison the maha prasad to eliminate as many as 400 Hindu devotees.
They had also didn’t hesitate to poison the temple’s ‘maha prasad’ (holy food) at the temple. They have also took training for making explosives and poison and took part in blast trials at a hill near the Mumbra bypass in Thane district.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad detained 10 members of the Ummat-E-Mohammaddiya group, allegedly having close connection and contacts with the terror group IS, from Mumbra and Aurangabad in January this year and foiled their secret plans of mass-casualty attacks by using poisonous chemical mixtures at big gatherings.
Following a detailed investigation, the ATS previously this month filed a charge sheet comprising stunning revelations before a Mumbai court.
As per the charge sheet, “the accused were inspired by speeches of Zakir Naik”, against whom huge charges of ‘money laundering’ have been filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
The ATS had also found several videos featuring Zakir Naik and his pictures on social media profiles of the accused, the charge sheet added.
“The group had planned a mass killing of devotees at the 400-year-old Shree Mumbreshwar Temple at Mumbra by poisoning the ‘maha prasad’ there,” a senior ATS official said, quoting the charge sheet.
A religious event, Shreemadh Bhagwat Katha, was held in December last year at the temple, where thousands of devotees ate ‘prasad’, he said.
One of the arrested accused identified as Talha Potrik tried to poison the prasad, the charge sheet says.
“The group members had also obtained information through the internet and social media about making explosives and poison and conducted blast trials in hills near the Mumbra bypass,” the ATS official said.
The ATS identified Abu Hamza- the group leader, who carried out the blast trials, the official said.
As per the charge sheet, some of the accused arrested had also taken part in physical training sessions for terror activities at a stadium in Mumbra.
A few group members were also in link with their foreign-based handlers, it added.
(With inputs from PTI)