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The Rediff Special/ George Iype in Bangalore
Could Bangalore be the next terror target?
July 21, 2006
Bangalore has two faces.
One, it is home to India's booming information technology companies.
Second, the city is also home to operatives of Pakistan-based terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
More than six months after the attack on the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore that killed retired Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi professor M K Puri, intelligence and police officers have concluded that the Lashkar executed the crime.
In the last few months, the special teams that the Karnataka police formed to investigate Bangalore's first terrorist attack have arrested a number of Lashkar operatives, including Razi-Ur-Rehman alias Abdul Rehman, its top leader in south India, from Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh.
The police say a group of Lashkar members led by Rehman and two associates -- Shahid and Kaleem -- had planned the Bangalore attack early last year.
"All of them were involved in a number of minor attacks in Hyderabad and Bangalore earlier," an officer, who is part of the task force probing the IISc attack, told rediff.com
While the police probe is on to unravel the terror modules Lashkar has set up in south India, officers say Bangalore has become a hub for terrorist activities in the last few years.
They cite a number of reasons and incidents to illustrate why Bangalore is on the terror radar:
Not just Bangalore, the towns surrounding the city have been hubs of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence activities for many years now.
The terrorists, the police say, wanted to create a network of operatives outside Bangalore who could target the city.
As early as 2001, the Union home ministry sent an intelligence report to the Karnataka government, which said towns like Gulbarga and Hubli harboured terrorists.
Officials say the Intelligence Bureau has been regularly passing on alerts to the Karnataka government and the city police, warning of terrorist strikes in Bangalore.
The Bangalore police, officials add, did not take the warnings seriously as they believed the Garden City was not a terror target. The IISc attack has changed that feeling.
The city police have now set up a process to monitor intelligence and keep a watch on suspicious people visiting Bangalore. IT companies are also being kept under strict security surveillance.
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