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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

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:

  • It is India's information technology hub, and targeting IT companies in the city would attract global attention.
  • It is home to some of the richest, globally wellknown Indians like Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, Infosys head honchos N R Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani and Biocon Chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
  • "The IT companies have been slow to address their vulnerabilities to terror attacks. We are now coordinating with leading IT firms on how to prevent such attacks," says a senior police officer.

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.

  • In 1994, bombs exploded on the Andhra Pradesh Express and Madina Express trains in southern India. Soon after the blasts, it is believed the ISI agents responsible for it took shelter in Bangalore.
  • Since 1995, the Karnataka police have arrested more than two dozen Bangalore-based youth who were trained in terrorism in Pakistan. The Bangalore police have special instructions to look out for ISI agents. Special Karnataka police teams constantly keep a check on the Muslim community in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli.
  • Officials believe the growing number of communal clashes in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the years are indicators of the ISI's growing influence in the southern states.
  • According to police sources, the ISI and Lashkar have been boosting their presence in Bangalore through Shahid Ahmad, a Pakistani national who took charge of the Lashkar's all India operations in 2003.
  • Intelligence reports say Lashkar operatives have been planning a major strike in Bangalore since the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament.
  • Mohammad Arif 'Ashfaq,' the Lashkar operative who was sentenced to death for his role in the attack on the Red Fort in New Delhi, told interrogators that a terror cell was set up in Bangalore to target Wipro's Azim Premji and Infosys' N R Narayana Murthy.
  • In March 2005, the Delhi police killed three Lashkar terrorists who had set up a terror cell in Bangalore.

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.

The Rediff Specials

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Number of User Comments: 11

Sub: bangalore terror target

First of all, The Police should be equiped with modern gadgets, we see night beat PC holding the old type slr riffles, there is no ...

Posted by shantha kumar

Sub: Bangalore next terror target?

Very poor article. The selection of title reflects the media's eagerness and tendency to sensationalize and direct public, and possibly terrorist thinking in unwanted directions. ...

Posted by Balaji

Sub: Terror

Dear Editor, What about the white coloured Terrorist who are controlling our economy and administration? Peoples of India knows that our several ministers are entangled ...

Posted by Bireswar Chatterjee

Sub: ''Aren't we getting Hysterical! '' - Let the experts do their Job

Dear Sir, This is in reference to the article titled "Could Bangalore be the next terror target?" dated on 21/07/06 by George Iype in Bangalore ...

Posted by Kiran Narayanan

Sub: Terror attacks.

It is a general feeling among the politicians and their local govts., that terrorism is only in Kashmir and other parts of the country are ...

Posted by madanbondal



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