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Mumbai police looking at Pak hand behind blasts

Sheela Bhatt in Mumbai | September 03, 2003 14:37 IST

Following the arrest of four people, including a minor, in the Mumbai twin blasts case, the police is now considering the Pakistan factor behind the terror attacks.

According to a reliable source in the Mumbai police, one of the accused has claimed that some officials at the Pakistan consulate in Dubai became active after last year's Gujarat riots and could have been involved in fomenting trouble in Mumbai.

According to the source, the Mumbai police is also trying to find out if there is a link between the blasts in Mumbai, allegedly executed by Students Islamic Movement of India activist Saqib Nachen last year, and Syed Mohammed Hanif's group which is accused of engineering the twin blasts as well as the Ghatkopar blast on a BEST bus in July.

Another angle the police is exploring is if there is a connection between those accused of murdering Haren Pandya, the former Gujarat minister, and those who planned the Mumbai blasts.

The Karnataka police on Tuesday arrested Mohammed Fahim, a resident of Hyderabad, in Bangalore, in connection with the Mumbai blasts. Fahim, who was picked up at Bangalore airport, works as an electrician in Dubai.

But the Mumbai police's claim that Fahim has connections with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, is being taken with a pinch of salt by terrorism experts, since the Lashkar, a Wahabbi organization linked to Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front, is considered too conservative to use women in its operations. Two of the four people charged with the Mumbai blasts are women: Fahmida Mohammed Hanif and her daughter Fahreen. columnist and terrorism expert B Raman told "The IIF includes the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar, Jaish-e-Mohammed and other organizations, all of which do not admit women in their ranks, do not train them for [terrorist] operations. However, the Palestine Liberation Organisation uses women. Even some indigenous Kashmiri organisations use women in their destructive activities."

Dr Satya Pal Singh, joint commissioner of police (crime), Mumbai police, who has done research on extremism and terrorism, told "We suspect the linkage of those arrested to Lashkar. We are still probing the case. I believe all over the world these organizations are changing and shifting their stands. I would not confirm or deny Lashkar's involvement at this stage."

Added Raman, former head of counter-terrorism at the Research and Analysis Wing, "My assessment is that probably the Pakistani consulate in Dubai carried out the operations in Mumbai through surrogates."


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