Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blasts mar Bangalore’s image as a safe city

Blasts mar Bangalore’s image as a safe city

K.V. Subramanya

Prior to the terrorist strike on the IISc., there had hardly been an incident of such nature in the city

Security agencies have foiled attempts to create unrest in the city

Several persons associated with the SIMI were arrested

Soft target: A file picture of the then Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh visiting the spot where a scientist was killed on the IISc campus in Bangalore.

BANGALORE: The series of blasts that rocked the city on Friday has not only marred Bangalore’s reputation of being a safe city but also highlighted again that the city is not insulated from such acts.

Prior to the terrorist strike on the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) in December 2005, there had hardly been an incident of terrorists carrying out attacks in Bangalore, although several of them were caught or shot dead by the police in encounters here. The security agencies had also foiled attempts of terrorist/militant outfits to create unrest in the city.

Besides the IISc. attack, the only act of sabotage carried out in the city in the 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 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 the Magadi Road police station limits. The van blast, in which two persons were killed, gave vital clues to the police, who were successful in arresting several members of the Deendar Anjuman.

The most successful and 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 sources had said that Ali and his aides had planned to carryout attacks in the city and one of their target was the ISKCON temple on Chord Road.

In the recent months, the police have arrested from Bangalore several persons who were associated with SIMI as well as Lashkar-e-Taiba and were reportedly planning to carry out explosions. In another major 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.

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) among others.

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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