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HomeIndiaHow a cigarette break landed these two ‘terrorists’ in Maharashtra police net

How a cigarette break landed these two ‘terrorists’ in Maharashtra police net

Balram Jinwal and Arbaaz Khan, working as extras in a film, were mistaken for terrorists after they came out of the film set wearing their costumes.

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Mumbai: At around 2.45 pm Tuesday, Palghar police control room received a tip-off from a man about two suspicious-looking men roaming around the streets and alerted the local Manikpur police station.

The men — later identified as 23-year-old Balram Jinwal and 20-year-old Arbaaz Khan — wearing long beards, loose kurtas, scarves partially covering their faces, and a round of magazines strapped around their waists, were “suspiciously” loitering around the streets of Vasai, a small coastal town close to Mumbai.

The police caught the two “terrorists” who turned out to be extras working on the set of a yet unnamed film being shot at a nearby venue. But, what ensued in the 45 minutes before the police figured out their identity is a story not very different from a Bollywood action script albeit with a slapstick climax.

“Our team reached the spot in no time. It was a serious complaint, so it was important to verify it. But, at the same time, if there were armed men roaming around the town, we didn’t want to waste any time,” Vijaykant Sagar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Palghar district, told ThePrint.

A ‘terrorist’ seen hailing auto-rickshaw 

On Tuesday afternoon, Anil Ramdas Mahajan, a security guard stationed outside a bank near Panchavati naka at Vasai, saw a man wearing an army-like uniform with a ‘suspicious’ look.

According to the police, Mahajan saw the man having difficulty getting an auto-rickshaw and ultimately asking a driver for directions to a particular place.

“The watchman was a retired Border Security Force jawan. He has worked in border areas at Jammu and Kashmir and grew suspicious with the overall appearance of the man. He called the control room at 2.45 pm and by 3.05 pm our police team was at the spot,” Additional SP Sagar said.

A few officers were sent to the spot to collect intelligence inputs and separately a ‘nakabandi’ was put in place to seal all the exits to the town.

Also read: Times Now, Republic fall for fake letter saying PM to hold press conference, delete reports

CCTV footage took police to film set

A few months ago, the Palghar police had introduced a scheme to cover the entire Vasai-Virar jurisdiction with surveillance cameras. The scheme ‘Ek camera shaharasathi’ (one camera for the city) urged all buildings, shops and establishments in Vasai-Virar to install one of the several surveillance cameras, within their establishment, facing towards the road.

“The move was aimed at curbing petty street crimes such as chain snatching, pick-pocketing, molestation, etc. We have about 700-800 such cameras keeping an eye on Vasai’s roads now,” Sagar said.

“Had it not been for the camera footage, the police may have still been on a red alert while the persons concerned would have returned to their shooting sets,” he added.

Four men, two police officers and two technicians, sat to screen the surveillance camera footage Tuesday afternoon. They saw a mini tourist bus pull over and the suspect person got inside the bus.

This is when the police officers noticed that there was one more person in a similar garb and became all the more alert, wondering if there were more.

The police immediately circulated the registration number of the bus, obtained from the CCTV footage, to its various teams that were by then manning Vasai’s roads. One of the teams near Suncity in Vasai, a popular area for shoots, intercepted the bus, found out that it was attached to a film shoot in a nearby area. When a police officer visited the location, he found 20-25 more such men, all bearded and in army-like clothes, scarves and gun magazines.

“We brought the men for interrogation to the police station briefly just to validate that their story holds true. We checked that they did have a licence for a film shoot. After due verification, we let them go,” Sagar said.

Cigarette break landed them in trouble 

While all was well in the end, the incident did cause a minor headache for Jinwal and Khan. The Palghar police booked the duo under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, related to disobeying an order promulgated by a public servant.

Jinwal and Khan refused to comment, but a close friend of Jinwal’s who did not wish to be named said the two men had simply walked out of the film set to enjoy a smoke during a short break.

According to the police, the permission for the film shoot, involving props, costumes and other technical apparatus, is limited to a particular location, and Jinwal and Khan had violated it by walking out of the film set wearing their costumes.

“It could have caused people to panic. There was also a chance that the men, walking around like terrorists, could have been roughed up by the public,” Additional SP Sagar said.

Jinwal’s friend said, “It was a silly mistake on my friend’s part that will never happen again. One cigarette cost him dearly.”

Also read: Times Now, ET & News18 run false report on global terrorist joining Imran Khan’s party

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  1. All who are doubting our security forces are stupid. They nothing know about the abilities of Rafael and giving their bullshit knowledge here.

  2. Rafael is a new jewel in the crown of IAF.
    Chief of IAF has to carry his force along keeping their morale high.
    Congress HQ and Chief’s House being face to face – is it related to Rafael deal.
    How far one can stretch one’s fanciful imagination!!

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