Wed Mar 8, 2017 06:43PM
Uttar Pradesh policemen gather near a building where a suspected militant was holed up in Lucknow, India, March 07, 2017. (Photo by Hindustan Times)
Uttar Pradesh policemen gather near a building where a suspected militant was holed up in Lucknow, India, March 07, 2017. (Photo by Hindustan Times)

A recent blast on a passenger train in central India and the subsequent confrontation with a gunman have raised suspicions that the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group may be expanding its footprint across the South Asian country.

Indian police said on Wednesday that security forces had managed to kill the gunman, identified as Saifullah, in connection with the train blast in the state of Madhya Pradesh a day earlier.

It took security forces more than 11 hours to neutralize the gunman in Lucknow, the largest and capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, where he was residing for the past couple of months.

A Daesh flag, eight pistols, 650 rounds of ammunition, 50 fired rounds, explosives, gold, cash, passports, SIM cards and a train time table were found with the gunman's body.

The blast marks the first such incident linked to Daesh in India.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) confirmed that the slain terrorist was suspected of being an active member of Daesh-Khorasan, which claims to operate across South Asia.

"We had received information that a Daesh-related group was being formed here and a suspect linked to it could be hiding here," media outlets quoted Aseem Arun of India's anti-terror squad as saying.

Indian law enforcement agencies have already detained at least nine suspects from Uttar Pradesh and neighboring Madhya Pradesh following the explosion on Ujjain-Bhopal Express on Tuesday morning, in which 10 people were injured.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, said those who orchestrated the blast had planted the bomb on the passenger train as part of a "pre-planned conspiracy."

"The terrorists were influenced by [Daesh] terror ideology and carried out the blast. It was a pre-planned conspiracy," Chouhan said.

Bhupendra Singh, the home minister of Madhya Pradesh, said the improvised explosive device (IED) explosion on the train was a "trial blast."

"It was revealed during initial interrogation of the arrested terrorists that they were connected to [Daesh]. The explosion was a trial blast. The terrorists had plans to orchestrate the blasts at some other places also."