Tamil Nadu

NIA detains four youths from TN for blasts in courts

Family members and supporters of three suspected al-Qaeda men who were arrested by NIA, gather in front of a court in Madurai on Monday.  

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday detained three persons, associated with the Base Movement, a terrorist outfit inspired by Al Qaeda, for allegedly carrying out explosions at five judicial courts at Chittoor, Kollam, Mysuru, Nellore and Mallapuram. A fourth person from Chennai is also being examined.

It was on the basis of information provided by the Telangana police that the NIA picked up the accused from Madurai on Sunday night. A Telangana police official said the accused wanted to establish Al Qaeda in India and planted explosive devices at courts as they wanted to take revenge on the judiciary for the death sentences given to 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon and other cases where Muslims have been prosecuted by courts.

Low intensity blasts

“They say they never wanted to kill and only spread fear. All the five IEDs planted by them did not have shrapnel and were planted at places where minimum casualties would occur,” said the Telangana police official.

During the November 1 explosion at a court in Mallapuram in Kerala, the accused had left a pen drive, which contained threat messages against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the official said. The pen drive also contained messages against the American, Russian and Israel embassies. “Their next target was a court in Hyderabad. We had been working on them and got confirmation about their location two days back,” said the official.

On Saturday, when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was in Hyderabad to attend the annual DGPs conference, he was apprised about the case by the Telangana police.

“Peculiarly, the responsibility of the blasts was claimed by an organization called The Base Movement in its propaganda material circulated through pen drives and pamphlets, left behind at the crime scenes of the blasts on Nellore and Malappuram Court premises,” an NIA statement said.

“Al Qaeda means base and so the accused had named their outfit the Base Movement. They were all self-radicalised and were careful enough to not leave behind any trail; they have been causing blasts since April this year,” said the Telangana police official. The accused were identified as Abbas Ali (27), Suleiman (23) and Samsum Karim Raja.

Ali is a school dropout and a printer; he was also running a library, Darul Ilm, at Madurai. Suleiman, a native of Madurai, is currently living in Chennai and worked at a software firm. He was the leader of the group, the NIA said in its press statement.

Raja, who is living in Madurai, is a commerce graduate and runs a chicken broiler shop. A fourth person, Mohammad Ayub Ali (25), is currently being examined, said NIA.

Confirming the secret NIA operation, Madurai City Commissioner of Police, Shailesh Kumar Yadav, said the local police had assisted the NIA team. The three were questioned at an undisclosed location.

He said the NIA later confirmed that Mr. Ali has been arrested in connection with the Mysuru court blast case. “The other two could be let off after questioning or arrested based on their confessions,” Mr. Yadav added.

However, the Commissioner said he did not have the details of the cases for which Mr. Khan and Mr. Kareem were picked up. According to him, the youths had not come under the adverse notice of the city police so far.

Picked up at prayers

Mr. Khan’s father, Mohammed Tasleen said, “My son and the others were picked up by police in civilian clothing when they went for prayers in DRO Colony mosque on Sunday evening.”

When Mr. Khan, who got married only last week, did not return home and his mobile phone remained switched off, Mr. Tasleen lodged a missing complaint. “The police told me that they would revert by evening. But by then, the information of their ‘arrests’ was on television bulletins, and they were brought to the district court,” he said.

“In the morning, he called his mother to say that he had been picked up by the police,” Mr. Tasleen added. Family members of Ayub and Kareem said no searches were conducted at their houses.

(With inputs from Sivaraman in Chennai)

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 8:02:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/NIA-detains-four-youths-from-TN-for-blasts-in-courts/article16715342.ece

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