Rizwan Ashraf, a 22-year-old Pakistani who crossed the border, has told Indian agencies that he sneaked into India with the intention to kill suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma, top sources told News18.
Two knives have been recovered from his possession which he purchased in Pakistan, they said. The knives appear new and it seems that he purchased them before sneaking into India, said officials.
The agencies and local police have recovered an identity card from his possession, apparently issued by the government of Pakistan.
BSF personnel caught Rizwan during the intervening night of July 16-17 close to the international border.
Documents seized from his possession show that Rizwan is a resident of a district Mandi Bahauddin in Pakistan’s Punjab province close to Pathankot in Jammu, but he decided to enter Indian territory from the Ganganagar side, said the sources. His identity card was issued in 2019 by the government of Pakistan and is valid till 2029, an official said. Rizwan told sleuths that before heading towards the international border he also met a few spiritual leaders in Pakistan, added the sources.
Officials said that during joint interrogation done by intelligence agencies along with local police, the Pakistani national told them that he used to work as an electrician and he got to know from the news that Nupur Sharma had used objectionable words against Prophet Muhammad.
Officials also said that he is radicalised, but his affiliation, if any, is yet to be revealed.
“From his questioning, it is clear that Rizwan is radicalised. During his questioning, he kept insisting that Nupur had insulted his god. He hasn’t taken any name so far as to who sent him or told him to go to India and kill Nupur Sharma but we are verifying his claims. A total of 13 packets/polythene bags have been recovered along with two newly purchased knives: one is bigger and one normally used in butcher shops. He first wanted to go to some other place. Rizwan seems to be mentally sound and is a hardcore Islam follower,” a government official involved in the probe told News18.
Sources said that Rizwan didn’t tell his family anything and left before Eid from his house. He reached the international border after about a week.
Sources also said that he managed to enter India without any hurdle from the Pakistani side, which is also a matter of investigation.
“BSF officials have said that Rizwan crossed the border and entered into the Indian side. He was roaming close to the IB when troops noticed him and apprehended him. Later, information was given to Ganganagar police and other senior officials including intelligence agencies,” an official said. “Rizwan is not aware of Nupur Sharma much. He was not aware in which city she lives. But he told Indian officials that he wanted to kill Nupur Sharma.”