Kozhikode train arson case was a jihadi act, says NIA in its chargesheet

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A file picture of Sharukh Saifi, the accused in the Kozhikode train arson case.

A file picture of Sharukh Saifi, the accused in the Kozhikode train arson case. , Photo Credit: PTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet in the NIA Special Court in Kochi against the sole accused in the Kozhikode train arson case.

The accused Sharukh Saifi, 27, has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Railways Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public property (PDPP) Act.

Three passengers, including a child, were killed and nine others were injured after the accused allegedly poured some inflammable liquid on passengers on the D1 coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express when the train crossed the Elathur station in Kozhikode and set the train on fire. on the night of April 2, 2023.

The investigation revealed that Saifi had chosen Kerala for the act involving terror and arson as he wanted to commit his jihadi act in a location where he would not be recognized. He had intended to return to normal life after the commission of the act, aimed at creating terror in the minds of the general public.

Self-radicalized

The chargesheet stated that the accused was self-radicalised through various online propaganda material available on social media in favor of violent extremism and jihad as propagated by radical Islamic preachers of Indian and foreign nationalities. He followed radical and hard-line Islamic preachers, including those Pakistan-based, on social media platforms.

A resident of Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi, Saifi had boarded the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express, committed the terror act and continued to travel in the same train till Kannur, before escaping to Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, from where he was eventually arrested. The accused had purchased petrol from a fuel outlet at Shoranur and a lighter from a store nearby the Shoranur railway station.

The case was initially registered at the Kozhikode Railway police station and later investigated by a special investigation team of the Kerala Police. The NIA took over the probe on orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 17, 2023.

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