- The attacker, Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi, had forcibly tried to enter the Gorakhnath temple
- Armed with a sharp-edged weapon, Murtaza attacked two constables who tried to stop him
- Police said terror angle cannot be ruled. The attacker, an IIT graduate, is a resident of Gorakhpur
Murtaza Abbasi, an IIT graduate who attacked two policemen with a sharp-edged weapon at a gate of the famed Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur, was on the radar of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for a long. Sources told India TV that an ATS team had visited Murtaza's residence by forging their identity as advocates. However, he managed to flee to Nepal.
Murtaza had injured two constables at the temple before he was overpowered. He is currently under judicial remand for two weeks.
According to police, he had tried to forcibly enter the temple, which was teeming with devotees during the Navratri festival, after raising the religious slogan of 'Allahu Akbar'.
Sources said that suspicious items, including jihadi videos linked to ISIS and Syria were found on his laptop and pen drive. Several videos of guerrilla attacks were also found on his mobile phone. He was inspired by radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who fled India in 2016. Naik is accused of being involved in terror financing, giving hate speeches, money laundering and inciting communal disharmony.
ATS sleuths are now questioning Murtaza and his associates as well. It was discovered that he had gone to Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Nepal in the last few days.
Sources said that Murtaza was of the view that if is killed by security forces during such attacks, he would be 'hailed' as a 'martyred'. This was perhaps the reason why he opted for the Gorakhnath Temple. Had he gained entry inside the temple premises, he would have caused serious injuries to the devotees.
Uttar Pradesh officials have termed the attack on two constables at a gate of the famed Gorakhnath temple as a "terror incident".
Notably, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is the head priest (Mahant) of Gorakhnath Temple and has his personal accommodation here. CM Yogi was not at the temple at the time of the attack.
Meanwhile, a team of Uttar Pradesh ATS probing the case has reached Navi Mumbai to gather more information about Murtaza, who used to live in one of the nodes of Mumbai's satellite city. Murtaza's Aadhaar card mentioned his residential address as "Millenium Tower, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai". Accordingly, a team of Uttar Pradesh ATS travelled to Mumbai to collect more information about Murtaza.
On Monday, the UP ATS team visited the building (Millenium Tower) in the Sanpada node near Vashi. The team found that the flat (mentioned in Murtaza's Aadhaar card) was sold in 2013. Murtaza's father Munir Abbasi has purchased another flat at Taj Heights Apartment in sector 50 in Seawoods Darave, also in Navi Mumbai.
It came to light that Murtaza's family had shifted to Gorakhpur in October 2020 and the flat was rented to one Muslim Khan during the lockdown. Munir Abbasi had visited his flat in Seawoods last week and it was vacated by the tenant. He then returned to Gorakhpur.
While gathering information about Murtaza Abbasi, police came to know that he mostly kept to himself and was not outspoken. Police are also speaking to the people who knew Murtaza when he was staying in Navi Mumbai's Sanpada node.