Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while speaking in Parliament on Thursday lauded Sartaj Mohammed — the father of terror suspect Saifullah who was killed in the Lucknow encounter on Wednesday — for refusing to accept his son's body saying that Sartaj has "made an important statement" by doing so. The minister added that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be investigating the Lucknow terror operation.
Expressing sympathy for his loss, Singh said: "I express sympathy for the father and I am sure the House joins me. The government is proud of Mohammed Sartaj and I am sure you are too." The father of the slain terrorist, in return, thanked the home minister saying that "this should be a message to the whole of India that our minister acknowledges and respects the common man."
A few hours after Saifullah was killed in the 12-hour long operation in Lucknow, Sartaj refused to accept his body saying: "Jo apne desh ka nahin hua, woh hamara kya hoga (How can someone who could not be loyal to his country be loyal to us)."
The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) commandos had tried to capture Saifullah alive, but he refused to surrender. A flag belonging to the Islamic State group and a train schedule was recovered from him after he was shot dead.
According to investigators, Saifullah and his group, which has "self-radicalised" and "self-proclaimed" itself "as an ISIS cell," also carried out the blast inside the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train in Madhya Pradesh that injured nine people.
According to ANI, ADG Law and Order Daljeet Singh Chaudhary said that they have arrested two more people in Kanpur in connection with the blast and the Lucknow encounter.
Saifullah's family watched the ATS operation until late Tuesday at their house in Kanpur's Manohar Nagar, the Indian Express reported. Khalid, the terrorist's brother who was called by the ATS around 5.30 pm to convince Saifullah to surrender, said that he was on the phone for over an hour, but "there was no response except the sound of gunshots."
"Marne wala mar gaya. Uski laash yahan laake ab aur tamasha nahin banwana. Kal ko rallyan niklengi, neta aane lagenge, zindabad-murdabad lagne lagega (He is dead. If we bring his body here, rallies will be held, leaders will arrive and there will be sloganeering)," Khalid said adding that it was the "family's decision" to not accept Saifullah's body.
Saifullah, who was the most educated in his family, had left his house against his family's wishes around two and a half months ago to "look for a job in Mumbai." His father and brother now regret beating Saifullah for his decision to move out of the house and go to Mumbai, where "someone had promised him a work visa for Saudi Arabia." That was the last time they saw him.
Sartaj had high hopes from Saifullah. "All of us wanted him to finish his studies first. But he kept saying there are no opportunities here. He did a course in computers and left home with his passport, Aadhaar, voter ID and driving licence. He said if nothing else, he would earn money as a driver in Saudi Arabia," Khalid told the Indian Express.
According to neighbours, Saifullah prayed five times a day and "never picked a fight with anyone" in the locality. A neighbour told the daily: "You can't tell these days, but it's a respectable family."