HuJI ban gives new twist to Mecca Masjid blast case
Posted by jagoindia on August 12, 2010
Vishwa Mohan, TNN, Aug 8, 2010
NEW DELHI: Contrary to Centre’s growing estimate that alleged Hindu extremists carried out the May 2007 Mecca Mosque blast in Hyderabad, the United States and the United Nations have held the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI) responsible for it. The UN has, in fact, termed the blast a joint operation of HuJI and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and listed a number of other terror attacks in India in which these outfits were involved.
HuJI’s role in the Mecca Mosque blast was highlighted both by the US and the UN while banning the outfit as a `terrorist organisation’ and designating its top commander Ilyas Kashmiri as a `global terrorist’ having links with al-Qaeda on Friday. Kashmiri had recently been indicted in the US for providing material support to Pakistani-American LeT operative David Coleman Headley.
India had also suspected HuJI’s involvement in the Mecca Masjid blasts before stumbling upon evidence linking the terror act to the group aligned with Abhinav Bharat who are suspect in two other attacks on Muslim targets — the blast at a mosque in Malegaon and at the Ajmer Shrine. It is possible that the UN and US authorities did not check with India for fresh updates on investigation into the crimes, going along with the initial line of Indian investigators.
Their “finding” may trigger a controversy because investigators have uncovered more evidence linking the Mecca Masjid blast which killed 16 people and injured 40 to Hindu extremists.
The US has pointed out that HuJI — which has been operating in India and Pakistan — had carried out this terror attack besides several others including the one in Varanasi in March 2007.
Justifying its determination, the US department of state in its statement said: “These actions were taken in consultation with the department of the treasury and the department of justice…. These actions will give US law enforcement additional tools needed to restrict the flow of resources to both HuJI and Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri.”
The same day, the UN too imposed sanctions on both HuJI and its commander Ilyas Kashmiri, subjecting both the entity and the individual to “the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo”. The world body has also listed a number of terror attacks which were carried out by HuJI. Besides the Mecca Masjid blast, these include the twin explosions in Hyderabad in August 2007 and suicide bombing of the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2006 among others.
Though India had banned the outfit long ago, the UN’s decision may have its implications in Pakistan as all members of the world body would now be required to implement “asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo” against HuJI and Kashmiri.
Although the American decision gave credence to what Indian investigators had initially suspected on the basis of preliminary findings in the Mecca Masjid blast, it contradicted the recent probe suspecting links of perpetrators of this blast with those of the Malegaon (September 2006), Samjhauta Express (February 2007 in Haryana), and the Ajmer Sharif dargah (October 2007) blasts. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was recently handed over the probe of the Samjhauta blast case. The investigation will also look into whether all these blasts were actually carried out by Hindu terror outfit Abhinav Bharat or some other Hindu extremists groups.
Though the initial probe had hinted at involvement of Hindu extremist group in the Samjhauta blast, the twist came when the US last year named one Arif Qasmani of Karachi as being involved in the Mumbai suburban train blasts of July 2006 and in the Samjhauta Express blast. The NIA will now have to find out the truth.