‘Lashkar operatives tried to recruit us’, Muzaffarnagar riot victims told Delhi Police
New Delhi – Two Muslim clerics from Haryana arrested for alleged links to the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba visited the victims of the riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi Police sources have said.
Some of the men who were allegedly approached refused to work for the Pakistan-based terror group and went to the Delhi Police instead, sources say. They are believed to have told the police that the clerics – Hafeez Rashidi and Shahid – made several visits to the relief camps.
The riot victims, who have turned witnesses against the arrested clerics, reportedly recorded their statements on Monday before a magistrate, which makes it admissible as evidence in court.
The revelation adds a new twist to the controversy that unfolded after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s comments at a rally in October that an intelligence officer had told him about Pakistani intelligence ISI trying to recruit young men whose families suffered in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Mr Gandhi’s statement was slammed by Muslim groups and the BJP, which accused him of trying to politicize the Muzaffarnagar riots. Nearly 60 people were killed in the riots and over 40,000 driven out of their villages and forced to live in relief camps.
The two clerics arrested from Mewat in Haryana allegedly told the Delhi Police that they had been tasked to recruit young men for terror, and were ordered to visit Muzaffarnagar to identify operatives from disgruntled men in relief camps. They have also been accused of plotting a terror attack in the capital.