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How Riyaz made a terrorist out of Peerbhoy

How Riyaz made a terrorist out of Peerbhoy

Author: Nikhil S Dixit
Publication: DNA (Daily News & Analysis)
Date: October 13, 2008

Mohammad Mansur Azhgar Peerbhoy, the software engineer from Pune arrested in connection with the recent blasts, joined the Indian Mujahideen (IM) after visiting the blast site at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May17, 2007.

An officer from the Mumbai crime branch said Riyaz Bhatkal took Peerbhoy at the blast site and told him that such atrocities against Muslims had become the norm. "That was the final nail in the coffin for Peerbhoy and he decided to join IM," he said.

The police came to know of these details while interrogating the arrested terror suspects. Though Peerbhoy was a religious person, he was against the idea of Jihad, the officer said. "Peerbhoy was educated and earning a very high salary. He was content with his life-style and did not want to get into the Jihad movement," he said.

Joint commissioner of police and crime branch chief Rakesh Maria said Peerbhoy had joined an Arabic learning class in Pune in 2004. "In 2006, Asif Bashir Shaikh, who too was in the same class, started befriending him," he said. Asif used to identify young people as possible recruits for IM. Asif was arrested on September28 from Pune for his role in planting bombs in Surat.

Asif tried to get Peerbhoy into the IM fold in 2006. "There were times when Bhatkal himself would meet Peerbhoy. At his first meeting with Peerbhoy, Bhatkal identified himself as a poor man sleeping on railway platforms," the crime branch officer said.

Bhatkal wanted Peerbhoy to join Indian Mujahideen because of his sound technical knowledge. He wanted to use the software engineer's expertise for operations of the outfit. "Though Bhatkal showed him several CDs containing footages of brutalities committed on Muslims across the world, Peerbhoy was never influenced," the officer said. "But seeing the dead and injured at the blast site at Mecca Masjid in May 2007, Peerbhoy decided to join the outfit."

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