Mangalore’s entry into India’s Islamic terror map
Posted by jagoindia on January 28, 2009
Sunday, October 26, 2008 10:49 AM (Mangalore)
Mangalore in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district has been an unlikely newsmaker, first because of church attacks in September and now because of the number of arrests that have been made in connection with the blasts in Delhi and Ahmedabad.
There have been six arrests of those accused in serial blasts in the country, all within a fortnight and all by the Mangalore police. Mangalore’s terror connection came as a surprise to many, most of all, in Mangalore’s Muslim dominated areas like Ullal, from where the arrests were made.
Arrests were made in the area over the course of two weeks in October, mostly on charges of supplying the explosives that would be used in the bombings in Delhi and Ahmedabad.
Arrests made on October 3:
Mohammed Ali – Age 56
Javed Ali (Mohammed Ali’s son) – Age 20
Naushad – Age 25
Ahmed Bawa – Age 33
Arrests made on October 16:
Rafiq Bawa – Age 26
Fakir Bawa – Age 40
The police say that Rafiq Bawa was the driver of Riaz Bhatkal, one of the main founders of the Indian Mujahideen and who comes from the nearby town of Bhatkal.
They say Rafiq and Fakir were among five Indian Mujahideen members, who had taken a house at a remote village near Koppa taluk of the neighbouring Chikmagalur district, where they assembled the explosives and even tested them.
“During investigation, the Delhi Police got certain clues that the explosives for the serial blasts were transported from here. Whether Mangalore is a place for enhanced terror activities, it is premature to say, but it is a fact that few of the boys from Mangalore are found to be involved in the blasts,” said Ashit Mohan Prasad, IGP, Western Range, Karnataka.
Police say they have proof not just based on confessions. They found gun powder, a chemical mixing jar, a chemical-testing thermometer, and also tools used during target practice.
However, Mangalore’s Muslims and activists, unused to being linked to the geography of terror, are deeply upset. They warn that police excess may only increase the radicalism.
“The manner in which the police behaves here, during the time of riots or say during the recent church attacks, is actually pushing the youth towards terrorism. Police must conduct enquiry even thousands of people, but they should not harass the innocent,” said Umar U H, founder, Citizens Dignity Forum.
Familiar arguments from Azamgarh and Delhi’s Batla house are now heard in Mangalore, marking its tragic entry into India’s terror map.