Friday, December 30, 2005

Attack shatters `safe city' image

Attack shatters `safe city' image
The Hindu

Bangalore always attracted terrorists

BANGALORE: Bangalore's reputation of being a safe city has taken a beating with the terrorists attacking the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) on Wednesday night.

There has hardly been an incident of terrorists carrying out attacks in Bangalore although several of them were caught or killed in encounter here. The security agencies had foiled attempts of terrorist outfits to create unrest in the city.

The Wednesday night's attack in which M.C. Puri, a retired professor of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, was killed and four others were injured is apparently the first terrorist attack of this nature.

Probably, the only act of sabotage carried out in the city in recent years was the blast at St. Peter's and Paul Church in Jagajivanramnagar in June 2000. The members of the now banned Deendar Anjuman, which had links with the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had allegedly carried out the explosion at the church.

After the blast at the church, there was an explosion in the van in which the Deendar Anjuman members were travelling near the Minerva Mills in Magadi Road police station.

The van blast, in which two persons were killed, gave vital clues to the police, who arrested several members of the Deendar Anjuman.

The major operation by the police against terrorists in the city took place on September 29, 2002 when a suspected ISI agent, Imam Ali, and four of his accomplices were killed in a pre-dawn encounter.

Ali, who was associated with the ISI-backed Hizbul Mujahideen and Palani Baba's Al-Jihad and Al-Umma, was the prime accused in the 1993 blast at RSS headquarters in Chennai, which claimed 14 lives.

Claiming themselves to be timber merchants, Ali and his four associates hailing from Tamil Nadu were taking shelter in a house on 5th Main, 11th Cross, M.S. Ramaiah Nagar in Sanjaynagar police station limits.

After the encounter, the police had said that Ali and his aides had planned to carryout attacks in the city and one of their targets was ISKCON Temple on Chord Road.

In another important operation in November 2002, the Fraser Town police foiled the attempts of Tamil militants, who had links with the LTTE, to kill some prominent Kannada activists and create unrest in the city.

On November 11, 2002, the police arrested Vijay Murthy alias Viji and Shiva Kumar alias Shiva, from near the Banaswadi railway station and seized huge quantities of aluminium pipe bombs and hand grenades. It later came to light that several persons had entered into a conspiracy at the house of Nedunchezhian, a Tamil activist now lodged in Parappana Agrahara Prison, to wage a war for the creation of a Tamil nation, the police said.

In the past, the police had arrested from the city several militants belonging to various outfits such as Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and People's War Group (PWG). The most infamous of the militants who had taken shelter in the city (in 1991) apparently were the assassins of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. While some of these LTTE cadres committed suicide by consuming cyanide at a house in Konanakunte, the police arrested a few others.


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