Bengaluru: Residents of a south Bengaluru locality say they are shocked at the arrest of 51-year-old Maulana Anzar Shah for suspected links with the terror group Al Qaeda.
He was arrested late on Wednesday night by the Delhi Police, who brought him to the national capital and are now interrogating him.
The police say that Maulana Syed Anzar Shah Qasmi, who teaches in a Madrassa in Bengaluru, is suspected to have strong links with the terror activities of the Al Qaida in the India Sub-Continent or AOIS, floated in 2014.
Arvind Deep of the Delhi Police's special cell said Anzar Shah had been arrested based on information from two other men who had been arrested earlier. "It was only after gathering substantial evidence that Syed Anzar Shah was arrested in Bengaluru, the police offer said.
Anzar Shah's main role was that of a facilitator, the police officer said, adding, "He was primarily involved in sending a Hyderabad based person, Umar Hyderabadi, outside India for training" in terrorism.
He has been on the radar of investigating agencies for alleged hate speeches uploaded on various religious sites.
Sources said Shah was inspired by speeches on the Internet of Al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahari.
In Bengaluru, his relatives and others in Banashankari, where Maulana Anzar Shah speaks every week at a mosque, insist that he is innocent and that his arrest was a mistake.
Anzar Shah's son Fauzan Shah told NDTV, "He is innocent. There is no connection with the Al Qaeda."
Shah's brother in law, Mohammed Asgar, was also strong in his defence. "He never even hurt an ant in his life. This is a mistake, he is innocent and I believe he will be released, he said."