Those involved in last October’s car explosion in front of Coimbatore’s Sangameswarar temple operated an Islamic State (IS) module inspired by Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the Easter 2019 bombings in Sri Lanka, the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) probe has found.
A source privy to the investigation said that the agency has unearthed material and digital evidence which showed that the 12 persons who have been found to be involved in the blast so far were inspired and radicalised by Hashim.
The evidence showed that they watched multiple videos of Hashim. Jameesha Mubin, the suspected mastermind of the Coimbatore blast, recorded a video of himself before carrying out the attack on Sangameswarar temple, as is typically done by IS suicide bombers. The farewell video was shot in a style similar to the one shot and released by Hashim before the Easter Sunday bombings. In the video, Mubin said that he wanted to become a shaheed (martyr). The module is believed to have had plans to release the video. However, that did not happen.
“Evidence strongly support that they acted like an IS module inspired by Hashim,” said the source, adding that the agency could not find links to any outside handlers in the module’s operation so far.
The investigation into the Coimbatore car blast, in which Mubin was killed, has also revealed that Hashim was the common point of inspiration for the IS module behind the car blast and another module headed by Muhammed Azharudheen, which was busted by the NIA in June 2019. Mr. Azharudheen was a Facebook friend of Hashim himself.
Y. Shiek Hidayathullah, an associate of Azharudheen in the first IS module, was also arrested for his alleged role in the car blast. Mr. Hidayathullah’s brother Sheik Safiullah and two others, namely Mohammed Hussain and A. Shajahan, were arrested by the Coimbatore city police a few days later in June 2019. The police had found that they planned to carry out a terror attack on places of worship using a truck laden with explosives.
“Several materials were seized from the trio by the police. They also studied how to make explosives. The investigation has found common links from the first module to the latest one,” said the source.
NIA is nearing the completion of its investigation into the car blast and is planning to submit a chargesheet against 11 accused (Mubin was killed in the blast) before April 21. Chargesheeting the 11 persons, currently in judicial custody, before April 21 is also aimed at preventing them from getting the benefit of statutory bail in the UAPA case after 180 days. (It is normally a 90 day period, and was extended by the court to 180 days on the request of the investigating agency.)