The banned terror outfit Al-Ummah was neutralised to a large extent after the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, but it now appears they are making a come back, reports Vicky Nanjappa
Investigations jointly conducted by the Bangalore and Tamil Nadu police show that three persons of the banned terror outfit Al-Ummah were involved in Bangalore blasts.
Their motive was to avenge the arrest of Abdul Nasar Madani lodged in a Bangalore jail for his alleged involvement in the Bangalore serial blasts case.
The last time the Al-Ummah was in the news was in connection with the Coimbatore blasts. The outfit had claimed that it had avenged the deaths of Muslims in the communal riots. The bombs were planted to coincide with senior BJP leader L K Advani’s visit to the region.
The police claim that one of the arrested persons, Bukhari, was the one who masterminded the blasts, while the other two executed it. The CCTV footage had shown three persons moving around suspiciously before the blasts. The three accused were arrested on Tuesday.
Call records reveal that the accused made several calls to Madurai, Tirunelveli and Chennai to discuss the attack.
The blasts in Coimbatore and Bangalore look identical. At Coimbatore the target was L K Advani and in Bangalore the target was BJP’s office.
Although the Al-Ummah has been banned and was neutralised to a large extent, it now appears that they are making a come back. The police say that Madani was sympathetic towards the Al-Ummah and its cause. His name had figured in the Coimbatore blasts but he was let off by the courts.
In the Bangalore serial blasts case, it was alleged that Madani was in touch with T Nasir, the alleged mastermind. The police believe that the Bangalore attack was planned to send a message across to the BJP government which had ordered Madani’s arrest.
Some say his arrest was politically motivated, but the Bangalore police maintain that he was a facilitator in the Bangalore blasts.
The Al-Ummah was largely neutralised after the Coimbatore blasts. The police had arrested 168 members of the outfit. But police records show that they are still hunting for nearly 60 members of the outfit.
The Al-Ummah could have broken into fringe modules, an Intelligence Bureau official tells rediff.com. There are several youth in Tamil Nadu and Kerala who subscribe to the Al-Ummah’s view. There is no proper organisational structure in the wake of the ban, but there are people who are capable of acting on their own while using the name of the outfit.
Some members of the outfit even associate themselves with the Indian Mujahideen. A major regrouping programme of the IM had taken place in Tamil Nadu before the Delhi police busted the module. The IM has been aware that some members of fringe outfits were looking to cause havoc and the IM felt that it would be the best time to recruit.
However, the IM has been careful not to associate itself directly as they need various outfits to carry out attacks. There is already a lot of heat on the IM and in such an event having such outfits carry out attacks in southern India will not do well for their cause, an officer with an intelligence agency pointed.