Bengaluru’s Terror Horror
- By synchronising serial IED blasts IM had plans to draw North-South Blood Corridor on Republic Day
- Bengaluru-Hyderabad-Nagpur-Bhopal-New Delhi was the “bloody” route
The success of Intelligence apparatus is measured by the ability of the security forces to prevent or thwart a terror act. Going by this principle, it is to the credit of the IB, the Karnataka’s Internal Security Division (ISD) and the Bengaluru City Police, who, in a meticulous operation, arrested four jihadi activists belonging to the banned Indian Mujahideen and thwarted what could have been a “blood bath” on the Republic Day, not only in Bengaluru but also in Hyderabad, Bhopal and possibly Delhi.
Though the suave, sober and cautious Police Commissioner of Bengaluru M.N.Reddi refused to divulge the intricate details, his expressions were sufficient to read that the police had laid their hands on somebody who had “something really diabolical” in their minds. “The kind and quantity of explosive and materials which we have confiscated from these IM activists indicate that they were planning something big. Beyond this, I cannot reveal anything more as it could hamper the investigations,” Reddi said in a crowded press conference.
Of the four IM activists, Syed Ismail Afaaque, Saddam Hussain and Abdus Sabroor were arrested from Bengaluru’s Cox Town area and Bhatkal, the communally-sensitive coastal town in North Kanara district, which has gained notoriety for being a safe haven for jihadi recruits. The fourth, a prize catch, Riyas Ahmed Sayeedi, was held just a few minutes before he was to board Dubai-bound flight at Bajpe Airport, near Mangaluru, another coastal town, which is also the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada district.
IB sources told Uday India that the timing of the blasts planned by these four IM activists was significant—Republic Day—especially when US President Barack Obama is the chief guest. “These four IM activists, acting at the behest of a handler located outside the country, wanted to draw the attention of the world by synchronizing serial blasts at 7.30 AM in four or five places. It is not a coincidence that the type and quality of explosive materials used in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar blast in February 2013 is almost the same as we have seized from these operators in Bhatkal and Bengaluru,” police sources explained. Reddi refused to divulge the location of the handler but according to sources, these four IM operatives were taking instructions from a Karachi-based handler. “The handlers can be more than one also,” a top official added.
Interestingly, Syed Ismail Afaaque is married to a Pakistani woman who is based in Karachi and he keeps visiting that coastal town too often. But according to IB sources, Afaaque’s ostensible visit to Karachi is to meet his wife, it, however, is essentially to meet his “handlers” and take instructions on further nefarious and terror activities to be carried out in different parts of the country. “Meeting his wife is only a ruse to be with the handlers. We suspect that Afaaque’s intention of marrying a Pakistani girl was to get a credible reason for him to keep going to Karachi,” sources explained.
The quality of inputs provided by the IB, the coordination between the IB, ISD and City Police was so clean, neat and meticulous that it was not very difficult to achieve the end-result, of nabbing the two IM operatives from Cox Town apartment in Bengaluru and one in Bhatkal. “In fact, the fourth operative Riyas was nabbed at nick of the time, as we had perfect information from the IB. The entire operation was so discreet and professional that none could get a scent of what was happening,” informed a police official.
IB’s inputs to the city police which were shared with the ISD were so vital that Reddi along with ISD chief ADGP Amar Kumar Pandey, IGP S.Murugan and City Crime DCP Abhishek Goyal evolved an action-plan to conduct raids in Cox Town and Bhatkal simultaneously. “This was to give the shock-effect to the IM activists and also not to give them time to escape. Stealth and speed were the key factors in the entire operation,” the police official said and added, “We had to make doubly sure that the persons whom we are apprehending are indeed suspected IM operatives and not somebody who is innocent, lest it leads to a needless and avoidable controversy.”
Two days after the arrest of three IM operatives—two in Bengaluru and one in Bhatkal—S Murugan, hitherto DIG in ISD was promoted as IGP and posted as Commissioner of Police of Mangaluru. Incidentally, two days after he took charge as Mangaluru Police Commissioner, Murugan was instrumental in apprehending the fourth IM operative Riyas at Bajpe Airport. Interestingly, the same Murugan was SP of Udupi district, when he led his forces to Idu forests and killed two dreaded Naxals in an encounter way back in 2007. Stealth and speed are the forte of Murugan, the soft-spoken officer hailing from Tamil Nadu.
Notwithstanding the care and caution taken by the IB, City Police and ISD while arresting the “right” people, the parents of all the four IM operatives slammed the police for apprehending their children and claimed that their wards were innocents. But the police dismissed the parents’ claim.
“It is possible that the parents are not aware of the activities of their children. It happened with the parents of Mehdi Masroor Biswas (who was arrested in Bengaluru about a month ago for links with ISIS). His parents, based in West Bengal, came to Bengaluru and claimed that their son—an employee of ITC—was innocent. But when we provided them some incriminating and credible documents, they were dumb-founded. Similar is the case with these four IM operatives against whom we have credible evidence to prove that they are not innocuous,” the police officer said.
The arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a solid supporter of the dreaded ISIS, had sent shockwaves among the Bengalureans. With the arrest of four more Jihadi activists belonging to the banned IM right in their backyard, the already-shocked population of this IT city have gone numb; a frozen-shock and a big question mark can be seen on their faces.
By S A Hemantha Kumar from Bengaluru