Fidayeen attack on Bodh Gaya foiled

Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya in January 2010

The Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya in January 2010. File photo/Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

Daily Pioneer

NEW DELHI, India, 27 October 2012

Indian Mujahideen terrorists were planning to carry out a fidayeen attack at Bihar’s Bodh Gaya to avenge “atrocities” against Muslims in Myanmar, Delhi Police on Friday claimed after arresting a fifth man in connection with Pune serial blasts this August.

Syed Maqbool, a resident of Maharashtra’s Nanded whom police claimed is the district president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which has an MP in Lok Sabha, was apprehended from Hyderabad on 23 October, SN Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), said.

Maqbool, a fruit seller who allegedly taught suspected IM terrorists how to rig up IEDs, is the fifth person to bearrested in connection with the 1 August Pune blasts to avenge the killing of operative Qateel Siddiqui in Yerwada Jail.

“Maqbool was in close cahoots with four others — Asad Khan, Imran Khan, Sayyed Feroze and Irfan Mustafa Langde — who were arrested and together they planned to commit fidayeen attacks on Buddhist shrines in Bodh Gaya,” Srivastava claimed.

The suspected terrorists had got the approval of IM’s Riyaz Bhatkal, a fugitive believed to be in Pakistan, for carrying out the attack as “retaliation to the alleged atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar,” he claimed.

Maqbool first came incontact with Imran and later was introduced to the other members of the outfit. He allegedly taught them how to build IEDs using urea, diesel and fire cracker powder as propellant at Asad’s farmhouse in Aurangabad, he said.

“In April this year, Imran introduced him to the Bhatkal brothers. The gang had earlier discussed plans to carry out a fidayeen attack in Bodh Gaya. Since the Bhatkals wanted to avenge Siddiqui’s death, they decided to carry out the blast in Pune first,” Srivastava said. On the instructions of Riyaz Bhatkal, Srivastava claimed, Maqbool helped Imran in doing a recce of Dilsukhnagar, Begum Bazaar and Abids in Hyderabad.

Maqbool, he claimed, was an associate of Azam Ghori, who allegedly set up Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen (IMMM) to carry out terrorist attacks in the country at the behest of LeT. Ghori was killed in gun battle in 2000. His first criminal act was the murder of one Krishnamoorthy in 1999 for which he was convicted for life.

He was released from jail in October 2009 after commutation of his sentence.

In the same year, he was also allegedly involved the murder of one Devender, who is claimed to have encroached on land of a mosque. According to Srivastava, he was instrumental in the formation of IMMM along with Ghori and Roshan Baig. “They worked under the garb of social reformists claiming that their objectives were to eradicate dowry system, fight against corruption and stop circulation of pornographic films.”

It was Ghori who allegedly taught Maqbool on making IEDs so that they can carry out blasts in cinema halls were pornographic films were screened, he said.

They were allegedly involved in blasts in three theatres while the fourth blast took place in Ghori’s house when an IED was being made.

He is also allegedly close to Abdul Rauf of AIMIM and Nasruddin, who were allegedly involved in the murder of Hiren Pandya in 2003. “Maqbool was appointed as the Dharmabad district president of AIMIM by Rauf,” Srivastava said.

Delhi Police had, on 11 October, claimed to have solved the Pune serial blasts in August and averted terror strikes in Delhi and Bodh Gaya during upcoming festival season. Police earlier arrested Asad, 33, who is a recruiter, motivator and ideologue of the IM, and Imran, 31, were arrested on 26 September from their hideout in Pul Prahladpur in south Delhi and Feroze, 38, from Nizamuddin Railway Station five days later. The fourth arrest was that of Irfan, a computer expert, from Jaipur on 10 October.

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