New Delhi: The arrest of two Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists from Deoband in Saharanpur district has brought back focus on this town in western Uttar Pradesh famous for the Sunni seminary as home to religious extremists. In the past, several terrorists and sympathisers were picked up from Deoband on charges of supporting terrorist outfits who had approached the seminary Dar-ul-Uloom for Islamic studies.

The Anti-terror squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh on Friday arrested two Kashmiri youth Shahnawaz Ahmad Teli and Aquib Ahmad Malik who are allegedly affiliated to JeM. They were involved in radicalising and further recruiting young people for the banned terror outfits.

UP Police allege that both of them were living in Deoband, posing as students of the Islamic institute and involved in brainwashing and recruiting young students to join militancy in Kashmir. They, however, failed to show any document proving that they were students.

Earlier, BJP leader Giriraj Singh had created a controversy by terming Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband as a “temple of terrorism”. The name of Deoband has figured in news of terrorism in India time and again. Many Islamic State sympathisers had visited this small town of UP. 

However, clerics of Dar-ul-Uloom spoke up against terrorism every time, terming it as “un-Islamic”.

Many other small towns in Uttar Pradesh have emerged on the radar of security agencies, showing terror outfits spreading their tentacles in the state.

Uttar Pradesh has emerged as a breeding ground for terrorists. Looking at the past cases, it is clear that terrorism in the most populated state of the country is dangerously making inroads into newer areas that are relatively underdeveloped.

As per the information shared by senior ATS official with MyNation, about 20-25 youths are being deradicalised by the Uttar Pradesh anti-terror squad (ATS) while over 100 sympathisers are under the surveillance of several security agencies.

The reasons behind this surge in numbers of terror sympathisers are high Muslim population, unemployment and a rash of communal violence in the state ― all used to indoctrinate youngsters.

Security agencies claim that over half-a-dozen terrorist outfits, particularly Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Islamic State, are well entrenched in western Uttar Pradesh.