A haven for militants?

THE LASKAR-E-TAIBA'S reported plan to attack information technology (IT) firms in the city has shown again that Bangalore occupies an important place in the scheme of things of terrorist outfits.

The city, as police say, is not just a haven for militants. In the last five years, security agencies unravelled several plans of terrorist groups to attack important places and kill prominent people.

Members of Deendar Anjuman, reportedly backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), caused an explosion at St. Peter and Paul Church in Jagjivanramnagar in July 2000.

When members of the outfit were reportedly on their way to blast another church, the van in which they were travelling exploded near Minerva Mills on Magadi Road. Material found at the site of the explosion provided vital clues to the police, who later unravelled Deendar Anjuman's plans and arrested several of its activists who had carried out blasts at churches in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.

Investigations revealed that the Deendar Anjuman had plans to blow up vital installations such as dams and defence establishments in the country, including some in Bangalore.

In January 2002, officials of the Central Crime Branch arrested two naxalites of the People's War from Andhra Pradesh who were planning to attack the Mahalakshmi Layout police station and loot arms and ammunition. The police seized 22 country-made bombs from them.

Explosives seized

In November 2002, the Fraser Town Police seized 1,200 electric detonators, 970 ordinary detonators, nine hand grenades, 75 live rounds of ammunition, chemicals used for manufacturing improvised explosive devises (IEDs) and a bomb manufacturing manual by arresting five Tamil militants. One of them had been trained by the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE).

The then Commissioner of Police, M.D. Singh, said the militants were apparently planning to carry out some killings in the city. They had tried to test the explosives in Fraser Town a few days before they were arrested.

In September 2002, the police unearthed a plan by Imam Ali, who was reportedly associated with the ISI-backed Kashmiri militant group, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, to attack some vital installations in the city and also the ISKCON temple on Chord Road.

Ali, who allegedly masterminded the bomb blast at the RSS headquarters in Chennai in 1993, and his four associates were shot dead by the police in Sanjaynagar police station limits on September 29, 2002.

The security agencies unravelled a conspiracy to assassinate the then Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani, by arresting a Mumbai gangster, Akbar Hussein, alias Kareem Akbar, from a hotel in Ashoknagar police station limits on October 6, 2001. Mr. Advani, who was to visit Bangalore on October 12, cancelled the visit.

The police said Akbar was involved in a conspiracy hatched by the Mumbai underworld don, Chhota Shakeel, to assassinate Mr. Advani.