|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Varanasi blasts handiwork of Bangladesh militants: Cops
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 05, 2006 11:07 IST
Last Updated: April 05, 2006 17:08 IST
The twin blasts in Varanasi in March that left 20 dead, were the handiwork of Bangladesh militants closely connected with Pakistan espionage agency Inter-Services Intelligence, police said in Lucknow Wednesday.
The disclosure was made following the arrest of six persons, including the mastermind of the blasts by the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police in Lucknow.
Waliullah, an Imam of a rural mosque in Phoolpur town of Allahabad district, was identified as the mastermind. While he was picked up for questioning on March 26, he was formally booked Wednesday along with five others who were tracked down to a house in the Sarojini Nagar locality of Lucknow on the basis of leads provided by him.
The 32-year-old Imam told cops in the presence of mediapersons that the Varanasi blasts were carried out by three militants belonging to Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami, a Bangladesh-based terrorist organisation with which he too was closely associated.
He also claimed knowledge about the nexus between HUJI and the Pakistani espionage agency ISI.
Admitting his involvement in the Varanasi twin blasts that left 13 dead at the Sankat Mochan Temple and seven at the railway station on March 7, Waliullah stated the mission was carried out by three Bangladeshi militants. "They were specially detailed for the blasts and have since gone back to Bangladesh," he told STF sleuths.
The cache of arms, ammunition and explosive material seized from the possession of the arrested persons, includes one AK-47 rifle with a magazine containing 27 live bullets, 15 hand grenades, 9 kg of RDX and other plastic explosives with 10 detonators and one .32 bore pistol with a magazine bearing six live cartridges.
Waliullah admitted having gone to Bangladesh sometime in 2003, but claimed his plans to move further on to Pakistan did not materialised on account of some trouble at the Pakistani end. "It was in Bangladesh that the local HUJI chief nominated me as area commander of the organisation for Uttar Pradesh," Waliullah told the police.
"Subsequently, in 2004 I sent these five young men to Bangladesh from where Asad Ullah forwarded them over to Pakistan to attend a 28 – day ISI training camp", confessed Waliullah .
According to STF Senior Superintendent of Police S K Bhagat, who headed the investigating team, "Waliullah was known to the three Bangladeshi militants as they had all received their Islamic schooling at India's well known Islamic institution in Deoband in Saharanpur district of UP."
He confessed having been inspired by the taped discourses by Maulana Azhar Mahmood, the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief who had negotiated his release from Indian imprisonment after he masterminded the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandahar a few years ago.
In his confessional statement, Waliullah admitted he provided shelter to three Bangladeshi militants, took them around to the sites of the explosions for a recce and also got them to buy three pressure cookers that were used as the killer bombs .
"They came to me on March 3 and I provided them a room to stay just across my home in Phoolpur, from where they undertook two trips with me to Varanasi," Waliullah said in his statement.
"Finally on March 7 (when the blast took place), the three men left Phoolpur very early in the morning by train to Varanasi after which they never came back to me; they were scheduled to go back to Bangladesh," he added.