Suspected suicide bomber was in Jammu and Kashmir for college admissions

Updated: Jan 28, 2018, 19:04 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh and Suraj Ojha

No clean-chit for Pune teen Sadiya Shaikh yet; J&K police still investigating details of the case

Sadiya Shaikh
Sadiya Shaikh

The 18-year-old college student from Pune, who was detained on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir over suspicion of planning a suicide bomb attack on Republic Day, was apparently in the state as she had got admission to a college there. The J&K police found out about this during their investigation following her detention. They have, however, not given the woman a clean-chit yet and are still in the process of verifying all facts in the case.

The woman, Sadiya Anvar Shaikh, a Pune resident, who was de-radicalised two years ago, came back on the police radar after a high-alert was sounded in Kashmir last week following an intelligence input that a non-Kashmiri woman suicide bomber could disrupt Republic Day celebrations in the Valley. Munir Khan, ADG, J&K police said, "The 18-year-old, who is suspected to be a suicide bomber, has been apprehended. During investigation, we found out that she had come with her mother for admission to a college here. But, we can come to a conclusion only after a thorough investigation."

Student from Pune
Sadiya lives in Pune with her mother and maternal aunt. On Thursday and Friday, her mother Safiya and aunt, Ashiya Memon, were interrogated by Pune Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Ravindra Kadam. Safiya, who left for Kashmir on Saturday, said, "Until I speak to my daughter, I will not believe she was ready to become a suicide bomber. There is some mistake. Post her de-radicalisation, I have personally kept tabs on her movements. The Pune police, too, have been keeping an eye on her." Kadam said, "As of now, we have not received any official intimation from the Kashmir Police. We contacted the girl's family, who denied that their daughter was in touch with the ISIS, claiming that she was in Kashmir for studies."

ISIS recruit in 2015
In 2015, Sadiya, who was then 16, was under the ATS scanner for her alleged connection with ISIS. She was later interrogated by the National Investigation Agency. On December 19, 2015, mid-day had published a report on Sadiya being de-radicalised by the ATS team along with spiritual leaders and counselors. Sadiya is pursuing her BSc from Poona College. She had cleared her SSC from a convent school, but suddenly one day started shunning her favourite jeans and T-shirts, opting for traditional Muslim attire and speaking in Urdu. In 2015, on being questioned by the ATS, she blatantly told them 'Mein ISIS ko dawat deti hoon roz. (I give daily invitations to ISIS)'. She was later de-radicalised.

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