The Maharashtra State Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Mumbai Police have received letters from alleged ISIS representatives threatening to kill their officers.
The letter received by Pune ATS on January 6
While the ATS got an anonymous letter, the Mumbai police received an email. The letter states that ATS officials in Mumbai and Pune are its [ISIS] next targets and threatened to kill Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Bhanu Pratap Barge, Pune ATS, and his family.
Mumbai and Pune ATS offices received the threat letters from the ‘Islamic State Representative of India’ on January 6. And the same was sent via email to Mumbai Police on Tuesday. This comes after the ATS Pune unit has been de-radicalising youths fallen prey to ISIS.
Last month, the squad detained a 17-year-old girl radicalised by ISIS, which lured the teenager under the pretext of sponsoring her medical education and then sending her to treat war victims in Syria. This happened right after ATS arrested Mohammad Sirajuddin, a manager at Indian Oil Corporation in Jaipur. His arrest led to the unravelling of several toxic chat rooms and groups on social media that were radicalising youth and urging them to join the ISIS.
Also, ACP Barge has started visiting colleges to interact with youngsters and warn them about such extreme thinkers. He has launched two projects — ‘De-radicialisation’ and ‘Me Anti-Terrorism Squad.’
“Our next target will be ATS Mumbai and Pune. ACP Barge be ready. You are disturbing Islamic State and misleading Muslim youths. We will not spare you and your family. Take it seriously and face the action in near future,” read the letter.
Shrikant Pathak, deputy commissioner of police, Pune police special branch, is investigating the case and has provided security to ACP Barge and his family.
Sources in the department said, “This is not the first letter sent to ATS officer but such letters have started coming to him from December 7. Barge does not want any security for his family. His daughter, a lawyer, recently got married and his son is an engineer. The case is being probed by Mumbai police. We are assisting them in the case.”
After the news spread, many Muslim scholars came out in support of ACP Barge.