India ‘al-Qaeda’ chief arrested

BACKAQUIDAPolice in Delhi say they have arrested two key members of the ‘Indian branch’ of al-Qaeda, thereby dealing a blow to the group’s operation in the country.

One of those detained is Muhammad Asif, 41, a founding member of al-Qaeda in the region that was set up just over a year ago. Muhammad Asif is from Uttar Pradesh and was arrested from under a flyover in Orissa, on his way to meet a contact. His arrest led to the capture of the second man who allegedly ran social media for the al-Qaeda cell.

Indian police said the 2 arrested men were involved in recruiting young Indians into the group. Police seized 3 mobile phones, a laptop, and other incriminating articles from them.

Correspondents say that though al-Qaeda has no substantial presence on the ground in India, there is concern that it is trying to reach out to disaffected Muslim youth, especially in Kashmir and Gujarat.