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How Lashkar carried out the Bengaluru blasts

December 07, 2009 16:32 IST
The serial blasts at Bengaluru in July, 2008 were undertaken at the behest of the founder of Indian Mujahideen Riyaz Bhatkal, according to T Naseer, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative who was arrested on the Bangladesh border and is being interrogated by the Bengaluru police.

An investigating officer told rediff.com that the entire operation to carry out the blasts was masterminded by Bhatkal.

However, Bhatkal was short of finances and also the men to carry out the blasts, Naseer told the interrogators.

Naseer said that during one of the several meetings of the Students Islamic Movement of India in Kerala, Bhatkal had met him and the duo discussed the plan to carry out serial blasts in Bengaluru.

'He told me that I needed to arrange the finances, and also to rope in a couple of men from Kerala for this task. I readily agreed started to work on the operation,' Naseer told the interrogators.

At that point of time, Naseer was an operative of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, and he had already begun a full-fledged recruitment process for the Lashkar.

Apart from being involved in several anti-social acts, such as burning buses or plotting the assassination of former Kerala chief minister E K Nayanar, Naseer also recruited several youths in Kerala. The young recruits were trained as fidayeens (suicide bombers) and sent to Kashmir to fight alongside the rest of the Lashkar cadres.

Naseer felt that this plan was an important one, since bombing an important city like Bengaluru, which is the IT capital of the country, would give the required attention the organisation needs.

As a first step, he came down to a small town in Coorg called Shuntikoppa,  which is around 240 kilometres away from Bengaluru. He then took up a job as a ginger merchant in this place and remained undercover. It was during this time that he made several visits to Bengaluru and interacted with the cadres that he had recruited in Kerala for this job. He even took up a house on rent in Hosur in Bengaluru, where he housed the men who would carry out the attack, a source said.

Naseer had instructed the cadres to dress up as labourers and go about planting the bombs in Bengaluru. Naseer had recruited persons such as Abdul Sattar, an expert in preparing the bombs. Once the plan was in place, Naseer returned to Kerala and he, along with Bhatkal, supervised the entire operation, the source added.

The Bengaluru police, who are interrogating Naseer, say that they are also trying to find out the whereabouts of Bhatkal. There is also a request by the Jammu and Kashmir police seeking custody of Naseer, since they would like to ascertain as to whom Naseer was reporting to directly while supplying men to wage a battle in Kashmir.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru