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Hubli is Ground Zero of SIMI's terror plans

September 03, 2012 11:04 IST

The spotlight is on Hubli -- the commercial capital of northern Karnataka -- where a major terror module that was planning the assassinations of several high-profile personalities was recently busted.

Five of the terror suspects arrested by the Bangalore police in connection with the plot are from Hubli.

Hubli has been considered a communally sensitive region for some time. The police suspect that smaller terror modules operating in Hubli were also planning terror strikes, especially in the wake of the controversial Idgah Maidan issue.

This Maidan land, which was being used by the Muslim community, was sought by some Hindu outfits who wanted to hoist the national flag there. This issue had been simmering for a while and tensions ran high between the two communities.

To make matters worse, a convention of the Students Islamic Movement of India took place in Hubli a few months after the outfit was banned by the Centre.

After the ban, the SIMI branched into two outfits; Safdar Nagori took charge of the radical faction, which the police believe eventually morphed into the Indian Mujahideen.

The meeting at Hubli was chaired by Nagori, who allegedly spoke about a series of attacks that needed to be carried out in various parts of the country. During the interrogation of one Kamruddin Nagori, he had revealed that several terror strikes had been planned in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat as part of a radical approach to protest the ban on the group.

After the SIMI meeting, some material for the strikes had been transported from coastal Karnataka and kept in safe-houses in Hubli. Interestingly, all these meetings were held near the busy area of Hubli bus stand to avoid detection.

During the Hubli 'convention', IM operative Abdus Subhan went on to become the technical mastermind of the group.

Other incidents -- like a blast in a church in 2000 carried out by the Deendar Anjuman group in Hubli -- have also given this city a terror tag.

Terror operatives like medical student Asadullah Abubukar, Mohammad Asif and Riazudding Nasir, who had all attended the SIMI meet in Hubi, had been arrested later.

At the meeting, it was decided that Hubli and its surrounding areas would be treated as safe hideouts and the terror operatives would use the large forest cover to carry out their operations.

Hubli has also witnessed the rise of an outfit called the Tiger's Group to counter the impact of SIMI activists. One Nagraj Jambagi, in an attempt to target SIMI activists, had in 2008 planted a bomb in the Hubli court. He had also planted three bombs on the national highway, but none of them went off.

Jambagi, who was taken into custody, was killed in mysterious circumstances once investigations began.

Vicky Nanjappa