“He refuses to say about his association with any organisation”

Armed police personnel stormed into a hideout at Batlagundu in Dindigul district early on Monday and apprehended Nagoor Hanifa alias Mohamed Hanifa (35), one of the prime suspects who allegedly conspired to eliminate Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani and attempted to blow up his convoy near Madurai on October 28, 2011.

Acting on a specific input, plainclothesmen led by Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Special Investigation Team) John Nicholson arrested Hanifa, a native of Tenkasi, who was alone in the house. 

A powerful pipe bomb stuffed with about 7 kg of explosives, mostly nitroglycerine, was detected and defused hours before the convoy of Mr. Advani was to have passed through a culvert at Alampatti in Madurai district. The BJP leader, who is covered by the Z-Plus category of security, was in Tamil Nadu as part of his ‘Jan Chetna Yatra.’ 

The pipe was packed with Power Gel 90, an explosive used to blast rocks in quarries. Timely alert by a passer-by helped the district police foil the conspiracy to blow up the causeway. A long wire connected to the pipe bomb was noticed by a villager who alerted the police.

“Hanifa is refusing to divulge information regarding his association with any organisation. He seems to be following the Jihadi principles...he committed the murder of one Kumara Pandian of Hindu Munnani in Tenkasi,” Mr. Nicholson told The Hindu.

Besides the Babri Masjid issue, he wanted to take revenge for what he says “the treatment meted out to Muslims.” Hanifa and his associates had planned to take revenge on BJP and Hindu Munnani leaders, he said parrying questions on the details of the hit-list.

Mr. Nicholson said three persons – Fakruddin alias ‘Police’ Fakruddin, Bilal Malik and Hanifa – were the main conspirators in the plan to blow up the convoy of Mr. Advani. They were present at the scene of crime and escaped on seeing the police. 

“Efforts are on to apprehend the other two. We have so far arrested eight persons in the case. The source of explosives is under investigation. Hanifa will be produced in a court and remanded,” he added.

Detonators and explosive materials and two long knives and a newspaper clipping containing the photograph of a Hindu outfit functionary were recovered from Hanifa, the police said. The SIT has arrested eight persons so far in the case.

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