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Youth held in Chennai have links with Lashkar

Youth held in Chennai have links with Lashkar

Author: Swati Das
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 4, 2002

The Tamil Nadu police seem to have averted a major disaster with the arrest of six persons from the newly-formed Muslim Defence Force (MDF).

This outfit is reported to have links with the Lashkar-e-Toiba of Jammu and Kashmir and its activities have been funded by MDF chief Abu Hamsa, now believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Chennai police commissioner K. Vijay Kumar confirmed the activities of the MDF. "These people had specific plans to create confusion in Tamil Nadu. They were in the process of drawing up a plan to blast important temples, blow up statues and target religious and political leaders."

The plans came to light after the police arrested two youths, Zakariah alias Abu Yahya (28) of Royapettah and Toufiq alias Yassar (27) of Tanjavur on November 29. Interrogation of the two youths revealed that they had travelled abroad and established links with militants there.

The interrogation also led to the arrest of three others in Tanjavur and one in Kayalpattinam in Thirunelveli, along with the seizure of about eight kilogrammes of explosives from their hideouts.

Incidentally the youths were being discreetly monitored by the police following a lead. Mr Vijay Kumar said that the details of the arrest could not be revealed as the interrogations were still on. He pointed out that four more persons from the group were still at large, and he was confident of finding them.

Giving details about the MDF, Mr Vijay Kumar said that Zakariah was the in-charge of its operations in the state, while Toufiq was its ideologue and that it held a clandestine meeting of 25 persons at Koutralam in Thirunelveli district in June to chalk out a plan.

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