'Brain behind' church blasts held

BANGALORE, JULY 12. The Bangalore police today arrested S. M. Ibrahim (40), said to be the brain behind all explosions at churches in Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh, except the one in Hubli.

The Director-General of Police, Mr. C. Dinakar, told reporters that though the involvement of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was yet to be established, Ibrahim and two of his associates, killed in an explosion in a Maruti van here on Sunday night, belonged to an organisation Deendaar Channabasaveshwara Siddique. Police said there was also evidence indicating their association with another organisation, Deendaar Anjuman Association.

The names of the organisations were on the pamphlets recovered from Ibrahim's house in Varthur here and his Vijayawada residence.

However, nothing was known about the activities of these organisations. The State Home Minister, Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge, said that though three members were involved in the blasts, the Government was not holding the organisations responsible for the criminal acts.

Stressing that the press conference was convened to dispel confusion over reports about the involvement of the ISI or any other international terrorist outfit, Mr. Kharge said, ``it is still under investigation whether any such outfits were involved.''

Meanwhile, Mr. Dinakar said that except in the Hubli blast, the timing devices, explosives, detonators and other equipment used were similar.

Investigations had proved that nitroglycerine and ammonium nitrate (gelignite) were used to trigger the blasts. Traces of similar explosives and timing devices were found at the site of the van blast as well. Gun powder was used in the blast at the Hubli church.

The explosion in the van here occurred when the vehicle ran over a speedbreaker. Material collected from the van driven by Ibrahim provided vital clues.

Mr. Dinakar said Ibrahim and his associates went to Tumkur recently to organise local Muslims in the name of the Deendaar Channabasaveshwara Siddique. However, the locals opposed it, he added.

The police found a computer and floppies at Ibrahim's residence which contained a draft of the pamphlet in English. It read, ``Warning: Christian missionaries, stop conversions or quit India.''

Other pamphlets recovered from the house had ``Om'' written on it and hence it was difficult to establish the religious identity of the organisation.

A senior police officer said that police had launched a manhunt for Ibrahim's brothers, while his wife had been interrogated. Ibrahim, claiming to be an accountant, lived with his wife and two children in a house given to him by his father-in-law here.