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India’s Bin Laden: Abdul Qureshi’s journey from a software engineer to a terrorist

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Abdul Subhan Qureshi

Delhi police Special cell today successfully nabbed Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Taukeer who was declared “Most Wanted” by NIA in 2008 Gujarat Bomb blasts.

In a major breakthrough, Delhi police special cell today succeeded in apprehending the hiding terrorist Abdul Subhan Qureshi. Qureshi, who is also known as Taukeer is one of the prime accused in many terrorist attacks across the country. Qureshi declared “Wanted” by NIA as well, was nabbed after a decade-long manhunt.

Qureshi’s name cropped up after the 2008 Gujarat Bomb blast in which 21 explosions took place within 70 minutes across Gujarat’s bustling urbane area of Ahmedabad killing around 56 people. He is also named as a mastermind of 2006 Mumbai Local Train blasts, Delhi and Bengaluru terror attack.

However, Abdul Qureshi was just another common man in India before he went on to become “The Bin Laden of India”. Living in South Mumbai’s neighbourhood Pydhonie, Qureshi completed his Secondary schooling from an institution run by an Islamic trust in Byculla. He graduated in 1988 from Antonio D’Souza High School and completed his post-graduation from one of the top colleges in Navi Mumbai. He also held a diploma in Industrial Electronics.

Qureshi also worked at a computer shop in Mazgaon on a part-time basis. However, later he also worked in top IT companies in India including Datamatics. He soon got married to a woman named Arifa and shifted to Mumbai’s Suburb Mira Road. However, he resigned in 2001 stating that he wanted to devote a year to religious and spiritual matters.

It is believed that while he worked as an engineer in elite IT companies located in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, he was spotted and recruited by SIMI in 1998. It is also believed that the techie-bomber was expert in making lethal bombs.

Abdul Subhan Qureshi

Abdul Subhan Qureshi

Many times he also fooled NIA and police officers as he was expert in changing appearance.  He also helped organize SIMI’s conferences across various states of India. According to police officials, he participated in the October 1999 SIMI conference where Sheikh Yasin, the head of the Hamas and the Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad, were among those who delivered speeches through a telephone network. He edited SIMI’s magazine, the Islamic Voice, from New Delhi.

After SIMI’s top leadership was arrested by NIA, Qureshi co-founded Indian Mujahideen along with other members of SIMI.

His family, however, denied the charges on him in a press conference in 2008. His mother Zubeida claimed that the family believes Abdul Qureshi is innocent, but if he is guilty; he must be hanged.

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We have no role in the selection of Reliance Defence for Rafale deal: Defence Ministry

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New Delhi |  A day after former French President Francois Hollande claimed Reliance Defence was chosen as Indian partner for the Rafale deal at the behest of New Delhi, the government Saturday said it had “no role” in the selection.

The Defence Ministry said “unnecessary controversies” are being sought to be created following media reports regarding a statement purportedly made by Hollande concerning the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner by Dassault Aviation, the manufacturers of Rafale aircraft. “The government has stated earlier and again reiterates that it had no role in the selection of Reliance Defence as the Offset partner,” the ministry said.

The ministry’s statement came a day after French publication ‘Mediapart’ quoted Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for French aerospace giant in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.

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PM inaugurates new airport in Odisha’s Jharsuguda

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Jharsuguda

Jharsuguda |Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday inaugurated a new airport at Jharsuguda, which he said will attract investors to the mineral-rich area and would act as a lifeline in the western region of the state.

The prime minister said the airport would go a long way in transforming the state into a modern and developed one.

Noting that only one major airport existed in Odisha for so many years, Modi said Kutch district in Gujarat alone has five airports. “Now, the second airport of the state would act as a lifeline in the western region of Odisha and attract investors to the mineral-rich region,” he said.

Asserting that the BJP-led government has been taking concrete steps for strengthening the aviation sector, he said only 450 aircraft operated in the country since Independence, while steps have been taken for 950 new aircraft during the last one year.

Highlighting the importance of Jharsuguda Airport, Modi said it would act as a junction for neighbouring Raipur and Ranchi and strengthen connectivity.

Development of eastern Indian states, including Odisha, West Bengal and Assam, is essential for achieving a balanced development of the country, the PM said.

Modi said the new airport is named after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, as demanded by the Odisha government.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while addressing the ceremony, thanked the prime minister for naming the new airport after Sai, and said steps should be taken for quick introduction of regular commercial flights from Jharsuguda.

He said the state government has provided land and free power for setting up the airport.

Modi also inaugurated the Garjanbahal open cast mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), which has coal block reserves of 230 million tonnes with an annual production capacity of 13 million tonnes. It will generate direct employment opportunity for 894 people and indirect job opportunities for 5,000.

The prime minister also launched the 53.1-km long Jharsuguda-Serdega railway line constructed by the MCL and said it would strengthen connectivity in the tribal-dominated region.

Modi also dedicated to the nation Dulanga Coal Mining Project of NTPC in Sundargarh district. This is the second mine of the state-run company to be operational and its first in Odisha.

Coal produced from this mine shall be used in the under-construction 1600-MW Darlipali Super Thermal Power Plant of NTPC in Sundargarh district, officials said.

The Jharsuguda Airport has been developed by the Airports Authority of India in collaboration with Odisha government at an estimated cost of Rs 210 crore, with Rs 75 crore contribution from the state. The airport has been developed under the Centre’s UDAN scheme.

Spread across over 1,027.5 acres of land with a 2,390-metre long runway, the area of terminal building of the airport is 4,000 sqm.

The airport has been developed for all-weather operations, including night operations for A-320 type of aircraft.

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Massive search operation underway in Shopian, Pulwama districts

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Srinagar | A day after three policemen were abducted and killed by militants, security forces Saturday launched a massive cordon and search operation in Shopian and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

The cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched in at least eight villages in Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir early this morning, a police official said.

He said a joint team of police, Army and paramilitary CRPF launched the CASO to flush out militants from the area. The official said the operation was going on when last reports came in.

Three cops were Friday abducted and later killed by militants in Shopian district.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between groups of youth and security forces during the CASO at Shermal in Shopian, the official said.

He said youth pelted stones on the security forces carrying out searches in the area.

The forces fired tear gas shells to quell the protests, the official said, adding, clashes were going on.

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