The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal by the Bihar police has jolted this coastal town as there were reports of Indian Mujahideen (IM) modules being active in Mangalore and surrounding areas.

The arrested man had been eluding the police teams that conducted a series of raids in this city and in surrounding areas, but Yasin Bhatkal and his brother and nephew managed to evade the search in 2008. That was the last time when people saw the elusive man, who is now stated to be one of the most wanted persons in India.

That this picturesque town has operatives of terror modules owning allegiance to IM came to light in 2008 after a Mumbai police team rushed here in 2008 and raided some places in Ullal, and then Koppa in Chikmagalur district.

The police claimed at that time that they had specific inputs about the presence of Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Yasin Bhatkal alias Mohammed Siddibapa.

Police teams rushed to a house in Mukkucherri in Ullal, after they received inputs about the presence of Riyaz Bhatkal, but they found Riyaz Bhatkal’s associate Mohammed Ali. Based on the information provided by him, the police raided a house in Chambugudde where Yasin Bhatkal and his associates were staying. But the police found the house locked and when they broke open the lock and entered the house, they found some explosives.

Subsequently, two more houses were searched in Subash Nagar and Haleyangadi in Mangalore but in vain. When the police got information about the Bhatkal brothers and Yasin Bhatkal being holed up in a farmhouse in Koppa in Chikmagalur, the police rushed there, but their efforts were in vain again. Before the arrival of the police teams, the Bhatkal brothers fled the place. Since then the police have not been able to trace Riyaz, Iqbal and Yasin Bhatkal.

A senior police officer, who led the raids, said that Yasin Bhatkal was suspected to be involved in many terror attacks in the country, including the blasts at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in 2010. “His catch is more important than Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal,” the officer said.

The police also believe that the explosives used in some blasts in New Delhi were supplied by Riyaz and Yasin Bhatkal’s associates in Udupi, Chikmagalur and Mangalore. Now they hope to find out who supplied the explosives with Yasin being arrested.

Mangalore Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar said Yasin Bhatkal was one of the 13 persons against whom the police filed a charge-sheet in 2008. “We had then shown him absconding. We will now move the court for a warrant,” he said. The case related to the raid is being tried before a Session’s Court in Mangalore, he added.

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