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Karnataka favourite destination for terrorists
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | February 05, 2008 12:10 IST
Karnataka has always been considered a safe haven for terror outfits and since the past ten years, these outfits have been working secretly to set up base in the state. It all started with the Deendar Anjuman sect, which was responsible for a series of blasts across North Karnataka, in 2001.
Mohammed Raziuddin Nasir, who was recently arrested by the Karnataka police, told the police that he wanted to set up sleeper cells in Bangalore. He said that this would help the terrorists carry out attacks in the future and would also provide logistical support.
Sleeper cells have become a persistent problem in the state and it is time that the matter is dealt with an iron hand. Each sleeper cell has four members and each member is assigned a different task, such as gathering information, collecting material and preparing bombs. Karnataka has been a sitting duck since 2001, when terror visited the state for the first time. The Deendar Anjuman sect, which set up the first sleeper cell in northern Karnataka, carried out a series of attacks that year.
After the police managed to crack that case, Karnataka remained relatively quiet for some time. However, the attack on the IISC in 2005 took everyone by surprise. Investigations revealed that the attack was carried out with the logistics provided by a sleeper cell, which was operating in Kolar, a town 70 km away from Bangalore.
The Intelligence Bureau says that all these years, terror outfits used Karnataka only as a hiding/breeding ground, but carrying out an attack in the state was not on their agenda.
They had adopted a wait and watch policy as any major attack in the state would only deprive them of a hiding place, said IB sources.
The police say that matters cannot be taken lightly as the sleeper cells are growing in number with each passing day. In 2007, there were three sleeper cells operating in Karnataka, according to the police.
However, there could be as many as five sleeper cells operating in Karnataka right now, with three of them concentrated in north India. Terror outfits prefer the northern part of the state due to security reasons.
The police have reason to believe that most of these sleeper cells are being operated by the Lashkar e Toiba. A narco analysis test conducted on Sammer, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, revealed that the number of sleeper cells in Karnataka was growing. He informed the police that terrorists preferred to seek refuge in south India, as the army had intensified its activities in North India.
It was also revealed that in Karnataka, the LeT was ready to shell out anything between Rs 3 and Rs 10 lakh, depending on the magnitude of the operation.