Tamil Nadu BJP president, K. Annamalai, has criticised the State government for displaying “hesitancy” in disclosing adequate details to the public about the recent blast in Coimbatore and in calling it a “terror attack.”
Addressing the media in Chennai on Tuesday, he said that he had written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the issue. Stating that it would not be appropriate to disclose the full contents of the letter, he added that the letter requested an investigation by the National Investigation Agency with regard to the incident. Mr. Annamalai said that the party’s State unit may meet Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi in a day or two regarding the issue.
Mr. Annamalai said he has confirmed that Jameesha Mubin, who died in the blast, changed his WhatsApp status two days before the blast with a message, indicating he knew he was going to die. Claiming that the incident therefore appeared to be a “suicide attack,” he said he challenged Tamil Nadu’s Director General of Police to deny the existence of such a WhatsApp status.
When asked whether the Tamil Nadu police was not showing prudence by disclosing limited information in the early stages of the investigation to avoid rumours and panic, he said the police continuing to call it a “gas cylinder blast” even after two days of the incident and the seizure of materials used for making explosives from Mubin’s house was not acceptable.
The BJP leader said that the press statement issued by the police on Tuesday morning, with details of five persons it has arrested, did not even have basic details on which sections they had been charged with, or the precise reasons for their arrest. He asked why the police had not invoked the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act as yet. [The police have since invoked the UAPA and disclosed the sections under which the case was filed].
Stating that Mubin came under the radar of the National Investigation Agency in 2019 during its investigation on a module with ISIS links, he blamed the Tamil Nadu police, particularly the ‘Q’ Branch division, for failing to actively monitor him.
To a question on whether the NIA could have monitored him closely, he said that the law and order in a State was fully, and rightly, the responsibility of the State government. Moreover, he said that the NIA’s branch office in Chennai was accorded the status of a police station by the Tamil Nadu government only recently, after a prolonged delay.
He alleged that the home department in Tamil Nadu has lost its professionalism since the present government took over as it spent most time in monitoring leaders of the opposition parties.