Who, why, where and how

Who, why, where and how

One year after Bangalore blasts

Who, why, where and how

“Who did it?” This was the question posed immediately after eight low intensity bombs rocked the Bangalore City on July 25, 2008 killing one and injuring eight others. The police were clueless and once they began investigations they realised they were in blind alley.

Unlike blasts in other cities-Delhi, Surat, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, no outfit claimed the responsibility for the Bangalore blast. Without clues, the initial days were really tough.

Over 500 flower pot merchants, 3,500 autorickshaw drivers and 600 other persons were questioned but nothing much came out.

The police then visited other cities where a terror outfit-Indian Mujahiddin-had claimed responsibility. But those held had no role in the Bangalore blasts.

The arrest of a few Indian Mujahiddin activists in Mangalore by the City police and Mumbai Crime Branch police opened up some leads. The accused revealed that an unknown South Indian wing of their organisation was active in one of the southern states. Interestingly, the micro-chip based timer devices recovered from blast sites in Bangalore and Surat were similar. A study revealed that timer devices were prepared in Kerala. The Kerala link came to the fore, and the existence of the “Shahabuddin Gouri Brigade” formed to carry out attacks in South India.

Another development helped the police. Four terrorists were killed between October 4 and 8, 2008 in Jammu and Kashmir while crossing over to Pakistan. The City police contacted the army and collected details of the dead. A key material recovered from the deceased was a BMTC bus ticket. The dead had visited a place on Hosur Road in Bangalore several times by BMTC buses!!

Soon the police learnt that one Abdul Sattar had prepared the timer devices after requests from a foreign national and Riyaz Bhatkal. Then, Sattar was hiding at his second wife’s house in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the Mangalore police learnt from the IM activists that Riyaz Bhatkal and four of his associates had fled to Hyderabad, stayed at Sattar’s house and then left the place.

With the help of the AP police, the City police arrested Sattar, who disclosed the truth.

On April 13, 2008, Sattar and Bhatkal held a secret meeting at room number 107 of Aishwarya hotel in Kuttipuram, Kerala to discuss preparation of the timer devices. The plan for the Bangalore blasts was finalised at a building near the public health centre at Chettipad in Parappanangadi in Kerala and at a room near Silsila Noorisa Tarikat Shobha Stores at Kannur in three meetings between April and May.

They then contacted a jehadi activist, Mujeeb and rented a house for him at Bommasandra. They transported the materials to be used for the blasts -- timer device, detonator, ammonium nitrate fuel oil mixer, nuts and bolts -- from  Kerala. They purchased steel and plastic boxes, jelly, bundles of English dailies and a bag of cement in Bangalore. Later, they prepared the bombs keeping the materials inside flower pots and fixed  timer devices. They had used nut and bolts and projectiles.

Thereafter, they extensively travelled across Bangalore to finalise the blast locations. On July 24, they kept two trunks in a four wheeler-one loaded with the bombs and other with waste materials. The bombs were kept at different locations from Madivala Check Post to Kengeri on Mysore road. After travelling for about an hour from Bangalore, they threw one of the trunks by the roadside and sped away to Kerala. Eight bombs exploded in the City the next day.

Avoiding a repeat of 25/7

Instead of a National Security Guard (NSG) unit, the Centre stationed a Special Anti-Terror unit for Bangalore to counter any terror attack.

To avoid a repeat of 25/7, the City police have formed several quick reaction teams, and stationed them at key locations across Bangalore.

City Police Commissioner, Shankar Bidari: Intelligence activities have been geared up; private establishment owners have been directed to take adequate safety measures. The City is on par with any other metropolitan city in the country in terms of safety measures.

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