Gorakhpur/Lucknow, April 4 (PTI): An IIT graduate attacked two policemen with a sharp-edged weapon at a gate of the famed Gorakhnath temple and tried to barge into premises before being overpowered, Uttar Pradesh officials said Monday terming it a “terror incident”.
The attack occurred on Sunday evening at the temple which is under high security as it is frequently visited by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is the head seer.
The accused, identified as Murtaza Abbasi, was arrested and has been sent to judicial remand for two weeks, police said and alleged that he tried to forcibly enter the temple, which was teeming with devotees during the Navratri festival, after raising the religious slogan of “Allahu Akbar”.
Videos shared on social media showed the man brandishing a large sickle and roaming around on the premises, as some took cover while others threw stones at him. Soon a group a devotees along with security personnel surrounded him and pinned him to the ground.
Murtaza was earlier taken to hospital and produced in a local court on Monday. His father Munir Abbasi said Murtaza belonged to the 2015 batch of IIT-Mumbai and was a chemical engineer.
Speaking to a TV channel, he claimed that his son was mentally unstable and that this should be taken into account.
In a statement, the UP Home Department said, “The attack on police jawans at Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur is a part of deep conspiracy, and based on the available facts, it can be said that it was a terror incident.”
ADG, Gorakhpur zone, Akhil Kumar said Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) constables Gopal Gaur and Anil Paswan were injured as they tried to stop the accused who went to a PAC post near gate no 1 and attacked the security personnel.
Chief minister Adityanath visited the injured constables at the BRD Medical College hospital. He has announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for the two jawans and constable Anurag Rajput for foiling the attack.
Additional director general (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the documents recovered from Abbasi “are quite sensational”.
He said that if the accused had managed to enter the temple, the devotees would have been harmed and the situation could have gone out of control.
Additional chief secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said in Lucknow that the incident will be investigated by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
“Directions have been given to UP ATS and UP STF to work jointly to probe the incident,” he said
SSP Gorakhpur Vipin Tada said that a case under various serious sections including section 307 IPC (attempt to murder) and section 7 Criminal Law Amendment Act have been registered against the attacker.
Details emerging in the interrogation of the accused during questioning will be investigated by five teams, he said.
Police teams are being sent to other districts to verify information provided by the attacker till now, the SSP said, adding that things recovered from his possession, his family, relatives and background and the nearby CCTV cameras are being checked.
Action will be taken on the basis of the investigation report, he said.
The attacker had tried to enter the temple premises with bad intention, which was neutralised by the brave jawans of the PAC and police, the state Home Department said.
Reacting to the incident, Union minister Giriraj Singh said the country does not face a threat from the rising Muslim population but from the “extremist mindset” that was behind the attack on security personnel at Gorakhnath temple, and hit out at the opposition over its “silence”.
The Gorakhnath temple is the highest Peeth of the Nath sect and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath is the Mahant of this Peeth.