Admins of Whatsapp group ‘Army of Mahdi’, created to target relationships of Muslim girls with Hindu boys nabbed in Vadodara

Vadodara: Gotri police in Vadodara have nabbed three persons who were operating a Whatsapp group named ‘Army of Mahdi’ and targeting Hindu youths who were friendly with Muslim girls. Those arrested are Mustakin Sheikh from Fatehpura, Sohel Sheikh from Rajmahal Road and Burhan Saiyed. Police have sent their mobile phones for forensic probe.

Police in its briefing today informed that there is a Vadodara-wide network of people from the Muslim community who would keep watch over Muslim girls and take their pictures with their Hindu friends. They would then target the girl and object to interfaith relations. They would also target the boy. They would even contact the parents of the Muslim girls who roam with Hindu boys and send them pictures to blackmail.

Police said three accused nabbed are admins of a Whatsapp group ‘Army of Mehndi’.  Based on the audio, messages, and videos recovered from the mobile phones of these admins, police said their activities could result in mob lynching and communal tension eventually.

Police said a video had gone viral in which some people were misbehaving with a Muslim female and a Hindu male. When probed into this, it was revealed that some WhatsApp group was created to target the Muslim girls and Hindu boys who would be found roaming together. Such couples were under the watch of these people and their network which is spread across the city. When some information regarding such couples would be received, these people would rush there and create a ruckus.

Police further informed that the accused were practicing a modus operandi to remove the Whatsapp group after some time to create another new Whatsapp group. They had removed their previous Whatsapp group and formed another group ‘Lashkar e Adam’ recently. Police said many people were part of this. It has been found from the mobile phones of the accused that they would blackmail the families of girls and tell them that they have such and such videos of their daughter.

Police said the people of this network would trace the girls and target them when they were spotted with boys of other faiths. They could capture video and blackmail them. Police said more arrests are likely in this case as it is the city-wide network. Police said those who were dialled calls by the accused, those who were part of this Whatsapp group, all were called for an inquiry. Police appealed that any person knowing about such activity, or one who has been the victim of these people should contact police and cooperate.

Police is also inquiring whether the accused are linked to some radical outfit, because once upon a time Mahdi Army was the name of a militia group in Iraq.

Meanwhile such group and related activities could be not limited to Vadodara only, because another video from another place of Gujarat has gone viral today in which some persons can be seen targeting a Muslim girl and Hindu boy for roaming togather.

More details:

– Hussaini Lashkar WhatsApp group was made in February this year. It was deleted later and another group was created under the title of Army of Mahdi. Later this group was also removed and another group namely Lashkare Adam was created. Thus in just 7 months, three groups were formed removing the previous ones.

Accused Yakibali Saiyed runs paan shop. He would chase the couples and post audio message regarding location of couple. He would then go to the spot, capture a video and post in the group.

Accused Nauman Abdulrashid Sheikh works in Interior Designer’s office. He rached Akota on June 10 and sent a voice message in group to call other people on the spot.

Accused Mohsinh Jukrulla Pathan works as a Medical Representative. He would give guideline in the group and ask group members to stop the couples and check their i-cards.

Accused Abrarkhan Anwarkhan Sindhi would make voice message in the group and give guidence to chase the couple till the end and capture video.

Group admins Mustakim Imtiyaz Sheikh, Burhanbaba Nannumiya Saiyed, Sahil Sahabuddin Sheikh were sent on two days remand by a court.

On 10 June, a Muslim girl from Bhavnagar was sitting with a Hindu boy who was a friend of her. A radical whatsapp group members reached there and tortured the couple. Later the couple was taken to Subedar compound in Gotri area.