Terror link no evidence against arrested cleric says bengaluru police chief

Bengaluru, Jan 9: Bengaluru police have admitted that they do not have any evidence against Maulana Syed Anzar Shah Khasmi, a cleric, who was picked up by the Delhi police on Wednesday for alleged ‘terror links’ and ‘hate speeches’.

However, the city police had been keeping an eye on him for past several months, according to Police Commissioner N.S. Megharik.

“He was under watch for his hate speeches but the police were not aware of his terror links. We do not even have any evidence that he was involved in terrorism,” the top cop clarified. He also justified the decision of Delhi police to arrest him based on the evidence gathered by Delhi police.

A senior official said that the jurisdictional Kumaraswamy Layout police used to monitor him and prepared a dossier about his activities.

“The police had even met members of the mosque committee and sought details about him. But before the dossier was submitted, the Delhi Police picked him up since they had concrete evidence about his terror links,” the officer said.

Khasmi, who hails from Shivajinagar in Bengaluru, had had studied in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh for two years before starting his career. He served as imam and khatib in various mosques.

He is married and has two sons and a daughter. One son is married and the other is studying in a madrasa. Qasmi lived in Hegde Nagar on Tannery Road before moving to a house he built in Ilyas Nagar recently.

Nayaz Pasha, the head of Makkah Masjid in Banashankari, where Khasmi was a preacher, said that the mosque committee had strictly instructed him to deliver sermons based only on the Qur’an and not to target other religions. Some women had objected to his views about the fairer sex and lodged a complaint at the Tilak Nagar police station.

He would often tour Chennai, Mysuru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Jharkhand and other parts of the country to make speeches.