According to “a letter claiming responsibility”, a man was carrying a crude bomb in a motor-rickshaw in Mangaluru, Karnataka on Saturday, a police source said. The bombs will target the famous Manjunath temple in Kadri. The letter being verified bears the letterhead of a group calling itself the “Islamic Resistance Committee,” which police say they have so far not heard of.
Police deemed the blast a “terrorist act” and arrested the defendant, Shareeq, 29, who was injured in the blast and remains in hospital.
The blast occurred in the coastal town of Mangaluru, 370 kilometers from the state capital Bengaluru, months before state elections.
Intelligence services received the letter, which threatened Senior Constable Alok Kumar, police said.
“It’s not clear where the letter came from. The name of the group has come up for the first time. We are investigating whether the letter is authentic,” one source said.
Typed in English and bearing a photo of Shareeq, it said he “attempted to attack the Hindutva Temple in Kadri, the stronghold of the Mangalore saffron terrorists”.
It tried to justify the attempt: “We retaliate because an open war has been declared against us, because mob lynchings have become the norm, because oppressive laws and legislation have been passed to silence us and Interfering with our religion because our innocents are languishing in prison, because public spaces today echo our cries of genocide, and because as Muslims we are ordered to wage jihad in the face of mischief and oppression.”
Shareeq also allegedly tried to make a bomb in September when he was carrying a low-level improvised explosive device, or IED, police said. A burnt-out pressure cooker containing batteries was found inside the car. The driver was also injured.
After discovering a stolen Aadhaar card that Shareeq was allegedly carrying, police said it made it “clear to them that he was planning to target something, but we didn’t know what”. He is from Karnataka and had traveled outside the state in the past few months.
“He had recently traveled to Coimbatore and parts of Tamil Nadu,” the state police chief said.
Central agencies are cooperating with state police on the investigation.
So far, police have conducted searches at five locations in Karnataka, including his home in Mysore, from where bomb-making materials were seized.
“Shareeq was motivated by the ideology of ISIS (terrorist group) and made a bomb in his home. On September 19, Shareeq and two other accomplices conducted a test explosion in the forest on the banks of the Shivamogga river,” a police officer said. Say. The two accomplices were arrested the next day, but Shareeq managed to escape and rented a house in Mysore after presenting the stolen Aadhaar card, police said, and continued making bombs.
“We do not rule out a link to the recent bombing in Coimbatore (in Tamil Nadu),” said state police chief Praveen Sood. The BJP minister in Karnataka and party leader in Tamil Nadu also mentioned this link to the case in the neighboring state. A bombing near a temple last month killed Jameza Mubin, 25, who was questioned by the central counterterrorism agency in 2019 over alleged links to ISIS.
Police said Shareeq was also registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, for graffiti on walls in Mangaluru.
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