Investigators arrest author of e-mail claiming responsibility, but bomb-makers and planter still elusive

National Investigation Agency (NIA) detectives have arrested two Jammu and Kashmir residents, who they believe participated in last week's bombing at the Delhi High Court that claimed 13 lives.

However, sources in the investigation said the perpetrators of the attack were still at large.

Kishtwar resident Amir Abbas, a seminary student, is alleged to have prepared an email, claiming responsibility for the attack. The mail was sent to newsrooms shortly after the bombing.

Abbas, the sources said, allegedly handed a portable disk drive to two other local residents on September 4 — three days before the bombing — with instructions to mail the text after learning of the attack.

Hilal Amin, also a resident of Kishtwar, a remote mountain town 248 km east of Jammu, was held on the suspicion of having helped draft the email.

Two high school students were charged in a Kishtwar court on Wednesday for sending the email from a local cybercafe?.

Abbas, investigators claim, was part of a larger network of conspirators involved in the attack.

NIA detectives are, however, yet to locate either the source of the explosives used in the bombing, or the men thought to have planted the bomb outside the court's visitors' entrance.

Even though the email has been reported to have claimed responsibility for the bombing on behalf of the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, a Pakistani terrorist group that was merged with the Al-Qaeda two years ago, it in fact bore no signature. The “from” field in the email was simply “Harkat ul” and the address harkatuljihadi20011@ gmail.com.

The demand

The email said the perpetrators' “demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately, else we would target major High Courts and the Supreme court of India.”

Afzal Guru was sentenced to death for his role in the attack on the Parliament House in 2001.

Little is known about the motivations of the arrested men, but the investigation sources said Abbas was drawn into a jihadist cell after his uncle was shot dead by the police during the communally-charged 2008 Shrine Board violence in Kashmir

Recruitment pool

Police sources said the cell was drawn from members of the Tablighi Jamaat — a transnational movement for proselytisation that has no links to terrorism, but has often served as a recruitment pool for jihadists.

Both men are also related to surrendered members of terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, but local intelligence sources said neither had a past record of criminal or terror-related activity.

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