Blasts in Guj, Malegaon kill 8

2 10 2008

Modasa Mirrors Mehrauli: Youths On Bike Throw Bag With Explosive: TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Source: TOI

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: In near simultaneous attacks across neighbouring states, two crude bombs hit Malegaon in Maharashtra, killing seven — including a 12-yearold girl — and injuring 30, and Modasa in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, killing one and injuring 10 others.
The Modasa attack mirrored the one last Saturday in Mehrauli in Delhi. In both cases, youth on motorcycles threw a plastic bag containing low-grade explosive, killing innocent bystanders. The blast in Modasa took place on the eve of Navratri on Monday at around 9.30pm, hours after the recovery of 17 crude bombs in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad.
The Malegaon explosion took place around the same time in Bhikku Chowk area outside a building that used to house the SIMI office, leading to suspicion among authorities that it could be a retaliation to the Indian Mujahideen strikes in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi. The blast in communally sensitive Malegaon led to police fighting off a mob of violent protesters. The wounded were rushed to the nearby Noor Hospital and Faran
Hospital. Two of the wounded were reportedly injured when police opened fire to disperse the mob. Three policemen were also reportedly hurt in the violence.

A Hero Honda motorbike, which was parked at the blast site, was completely mangled. Additional SP (Malegaon) Sanjay Patil said the explosion took place on the motorcycle. ‘‘Soon a huge mob gathered and pelted stones at the police. We fired five rounds in retaliation. The crowd prevented the police from entering the area. There is tension and we have summoned additional forces. The exact number of injured people cannot be quantified now, but the mob attacked us brutally,’’ an officer said.

Versions differed. While some police officers said the blasts were triggered accidentally by a cylinder, angry local residents insisted bombs had been planted and then set off. Four companies of the state reserve police force have been deployed in the troubled area. Malegaon sub-divisional magistrate Ajay More said that the situation on Monday night was quite tense.
‘‘Three policemen, including an IPS probationer, Viresh Prabhu, are injured. Prabhu was hit by a stone and has a big gash on his head. We have admitted the policemen to Wadia Hospital,’’ he said.

The Malegaon blasts took place when a special Ramzan prayer was being offered in mosques across the town. This is the second time that Malegaon has been hit by blasts. On September 8, 2006, four bombs were planted on cycles and went off in the textile town, killing 31 and injuring 297 others. Nine SIMI suspects had been arrested for the 2006 blasts.

Residents of Malegaon alleged that Monday’s blasts were a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation two days prior to Eid. ‘‘I saw people running helter-skelter on the road and youths were taking the injured to the hospital,’’ said Khaleel Ahmed, a resident.

BLOODY TRAIL Malegaon blast: Shoppers were target

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: Monday’s blast in Malegaon took place in the historical Bhikku Chowk area, hardly 300 metres from Mushwerath Chowk, the site of the 2006 blasts. Thousands of women were shopping at the time of the blasts. Bhikku Chowk is located between three mosques. The SIMI office, which is located on the first floor of a building, was functional till the outfit was banned on October 24, 2001.

In Modasa, the area of the blast was cordoned off as forensic experts rushed in to pick samples. ‘‘One person was killed and 10 injured in the blast that took place at Suka bazaar.
Police reinforcements have been rushed in to the spot while injured are being shifted to the hospital,’’ said Sabarkantha district collector M Thennarasan.

Here too, people were out shopping when the bomb was set off. ‘‘This is a minority-dominated area and people were out shopping for Eid. It is Ramzan and Shuka bazaar is usually bustling at this time,’’ said Razzak Khan, an eyewitness.

As news of the blasts reached Delhi, Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta got in touch with authorities in Gujarat and Maharashtra to take stock of the situation.





Major attacks since 2003

25 09 2008

Source: Hindustan times

Septemer 13th 2008 – At least five bombs exploded in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi on Saturday, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores more. The Indian Mujahideen militant group, which has claimed several major attacks in recent months, said it was responsible.

Following is a chronology of some of the major attacks in India in the past five years:

March 13, 2003 – A bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai kills 11 people.

August 25, 2003 – Two car bombs kill about 60 in Mumbai.

August 15, 2004 – A bomb explodes in the northeastern state of Assam, killing 16 people, mostly schoolchildren, and wounding dozens.

October 29, 2005 – Sixty-six people are killed when three blasts rip through markets in New Delhi.

March 7, 2006 – At least 15 people are killed and 60 wounded in three blasts in the northerly Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

July 11, 2006 – More than 180 people are killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai that are blamed on Islamist militants.

September 8, 2006 – At least 32 people are killed in a series of explosions, including one near a mosque, in Malegaon town, 260 km (160 miles) northeast of Mumbai.

February 19, 2007 – Two bombs explode aboard a train heading from India to Pakistan; at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, burn to death.

May 18, 2007 – A bomb explodes during Friday prayers at a historic mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad, killing 11 worshippers. Police later shoot dead five people in clashes with hundreds of enraged Muslims who protest against the attack.

August 25, 2007 – Three coordinated explosions at an amusement park and a street stall in Hyderabad kill at least 40 people.

May 13, 2008 – Seven bombs rip through the crowded streets of the western city of Jaipur, killing at least 63 people in markets and outside Hindu temples.

July 25 – Eight small bombs hit the IT city of Bangalore, killing at least one woman and wounding at least 15.

July 26 – At least 16 small bombs explode in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, killing 45 people and wounding 161. A little-known group called the “Indian Mujahideen” claims responsibility for the attack and the May 13 attack in Jaipur.

September 13 – At least five bombs explode in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores more. The Indian Mujahideen again claim responsibility.





Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

25 09 2008

Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

Staff Reporter
Source: The hindu

Suspected in 7/11 Mumbai blasts case; explosives, weapons seized from them; they allegedly broke away from SIMI

Hunt on for more suspects


Mumbai: The Mumbai police have arrested five suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen. While Afzal Mutalib Usmani (32) was arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Saddik Shaikh (31), Mohammed Arif Shaikh (38), Mohammed Zakir Shaikh (28) and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh were apprehended from their Mumbai residences on Tuesday night.

All the accused, originally from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, have worked with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Joint Commissioner (Crime), Rakesh Maria told journalists.

“They broke away from SIMI to form the radical group of Indian Mujahideen. Saddik, was one of the co-founders of the outfit along with Atiq, killed in the Delhi encounter, and Roshan Khan, who is yet to be traced. The police are on the lookout for Khan.”

The police have booked the arrested persons under the Explosives Act, Arms Act, various sections of the Indian Penal Code and for criminal conspiracy. They have taken custody of them till October 7.

The police have also recovered explosives and ammunition from them. They have retrieved 10 kg. of gelatin or ammonium nitrate, 15 detonators, eight kg. of ball bearings, four fully active electronic circuits, one sub-machine carbine, two .38 revolvers and 30 cartridges of 9 mm carbine and eight cartridges of .38 revolver.

The source of the explosives and weapons is yet to be ascertained. However, the police presume it could be Karnataka, said Mr. Gafoor.

Hawala funds

While the source of finance is also to be investigated, Mr. Gafoor said the “money was coming through the hawala route.”

Mr. Maria described the role of the terrorists in the multiple blasts in the country since 2005, including the recent attacks in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi. He said the Indian Mujahideen was also involved in the planting of an unexploded bomb at Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the blast at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, the blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, the Gorakhpur blasts in Lucknow and the 7/11 Mumbai blasts.

According to Mr. Maria, Afzal was responsible for the theft of the four motor vehicles from Navi Mumbai, which were used in the Ahmedabad blasts. He was also responsible for placing the explosive-laden vehicles at an Ahmedabad hospital and market place. Afzal was involved in a 1996 Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai) case of murder. He has nine cases against him including one under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime ACT (MCOCA).

Saddik came from Uttar Pradesh to settle in Cheetah Camp, Trombay, near Mumbai. He was working as a programme engineer in an electronic company in Mumbai. He was trained in a “hostile country” on two occasions for nine months and 45 days respectively. It was suspected that he was very high in the Indian Mujahideen hierarchy, Mr. Maria said.

Arif, an electrician by profession, was also trained outside in fabrication of bombs. “In particular, he is an expert in preparing an electronic circuit for bombs and is responsible for preparing the same in practically all the bomb blasts engineered by the Indian Mujahideen. In the initial stages, he was assembling bombs in Azamgarh and later he started doing it in Mumbai,” he said.

Zakir worked as a scrap dealer in Surat. Also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004, he was involved in the recent terror acts in Surat.

Ansar, resident of Cheetah Camp, was a close associate of Saddik. He was also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004.

Mr. Maria said the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) played a joint role in providing training to these five men.

Roshan Khan hails from Karnataka. His activities covered Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat.

Mr. Maria said Saddik was close to the alleged Delhi blast mastermind Atif. He was older than Atif and was his “controller.” Indian Mujahideen members were also under Saddik’s control.

He would plan where to send members for training and how many were to be sent. While Saddik would draw up plans, Atif would execute them.

“There is another person who is controlling them. His name is Amir Razzaq. His brother Asif Razzaq belonged to Kolkata’s Aftab Ansari group,” Mr. Maria said. He said Amir could be in Pakistan.

The arrested would converge at SIMI meetings. Another binding factor was their same place of origin, Azamgarh. Three of the five lived at Sanjarpur village in the district.

Mr. Maria said that to make identification difficult, the four persons settled in Mumbai told the 7/11 blast accused, with whom they worked, that they were Pakistanis. The Mumbai blast charge sheet mentions Pakistanis.

“All the 7/11 accused are in jail. The suspects thought to be Pakistanis are these people,” Mr. Gafoor said.

Responding to questions on the absconding suspect Abdus Subhan Qureishi alias Tauqeer, who is believed to have sent terror e-mails before the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts, Mr. Maria said that with the arrests made on Tuesday the e-mail case would be solved soon. He suspected that Tauqeer could be in touch with Roshan Khan.

‘Cannot be complacent’

“We have made a serious dent in terrorist activity, but we cannot be complacent. The hunt for more suspects is on, but the police cannot share operational details,” Mr. Gafoor said.

He said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for the Crime Branch team.





Delhi blasts suspects’ sketches released

16 09 2008
Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi, Sept 16: Delhi Police on Tuesday released sketches of key suspects in five bombs that killed 22 people, at three public places in the Capital on Saturday. The police have released five sketches- two of 2 persons each which are suspects in Barakhamba road bombing and one sketch of a suspect in Gaffar market blast.

“We are aware of the background of these people but can not reveal it. We request the people to be on the look-out for these people and call us on 1091 with any information. The identity of callers will be kept a secret,” the police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

“The sketches were drawn with information from witnesses who saw these men either move suspiciously or place suspect-looking bags,” Bhagat said.

Five persons, including a teenage balloon seller, who saw suspected persons placing packets in the dustbins at Central Park and Barakhamba Road were called to Police Headquarters to assist them in making sketches, a senior police official said.

He also revealed that masterminds of the bombings are called Subhan and Tarique.

Ahmedabad blasts suspects pics released

Ahmedabad Police’s crime branch had on Monday released the photographs and details of five accused, who are still absconding in connection with Ahmedabad serial blasts. In a statement, the crime branch gave background of SIMI activists–Abdul Subhan alias Tauqeer, Qayamuddin Kapadia, Abdul Razzak, Mujib Sheikh and Alamzeb Aafridi, who are accused in the serial blasts.

Subhan and Qayamuddin were already named by the police, while Razzak, Mujib and Alamzeb, all residents of Ahmedabad, were named yesterday.

Razzak and Alamzeb, active SIMI members, played a key role in purchase of cycles and placing them with the bombs in different parts of the city, the statement said.

While Razzak was present during the terror training camps held in Wagahmon in Kerala, Alamzeb attended a similar camp in Halol in Gujarat. Both played an important part during the planning meetings held in the city prior to the blasts, it said.

According to the statement, Mujib was present during meetings of SIMI members that was held prior to the blasts and used to train youth in ‘jihadi’ activities. He was also present during the training camps, it added.





Accused bombers led dual lives

28 08 2008

Accused bombers led dual lives
28 Aug 2008, 0458 hrs IST, Prashant Dayal,TNN

source: TOI
AHMEDABAD: When a team of crime branch of city police reached Tavdipura of Bharuch to nab Sajid Mansuri, in connection with the 26/7 serial blasts, he had one wish – not to be arrested in front of his wife and children. Sajid is emerging as the key strategist in the Ahmedabad, Surat and Jaipur bomb plots.

The terror accused who have been arrested till date had been living a double life. In most cases, the police found that their family members were completely in the dark about their Jihadi sides.

Sajid’s apparent shame for his arrest may seem in sharp contrast to his terrorist activities, but his wife seemed unaware about her husband’s mission. Just 45 days ago, Sajid had come to stay in Bharuch. He hid his past and lived under the cover of a dealer of phenyl and floor-cleaner acid.

On the day of his arrest, Sajid had gone out to treat his wife and children to some ice-cream in the evening. “His wife said, when they returned home, she noticed that Sajid was frightened. When she asked him why, he said there is heavy police presence on the road and that he feared he would be arrested for his involvement with SIMI. Sajid was wanted in the crackdown on SIMI at Surat in 2001,” said a police official .

When police came knocking on his door, Sajid wanted to flee. But, the cops warned that they would open fire if he does not open the door. To ensure that his wife and children are not hurt, he gave himself up and was arrested in front of his children.

Shahbaz Hussain, who was arrested on Sunday night from Lucknow, too has a similar tale. “Family members of Shahbaz , who used to run computer classes in Lucknow, were taken aback when UP and Rajasthan police reached his house in the night. They seemed genuinely surprised by his arrest, as they had no inkling of his involvement with subversive forces. We have spoken to our counterparts in Rajasthan and they say Shahbaz had not disclosed his terrorist face to his family members,” said police officials investigating the serial blasts.

Another key terror operative, Zahid Shaikh of Juhapura, who had provided shelter to Mufti Abdul Bashar Kasmi and planted the car bomb at Civil Hospital too had kept his family in the dark about his dual role.

After Zahid was arrested and produced before court, his old mother stood bewildered and kept asking mediapersons, “Will my son get released in a week? I hope he has not been booked for something serious.”

Zahir’s family claims he is innocent:

Even as Gujarat police announced that they had cracked the case of planting of bombs in Surat, the 300-odd residents in the Muslimdominated slum at Natraj compound in Ghastipura – home of Zahir Patel, one of the two accused – were glued to their television sets. Most watched in disbelief as Zahir Patel’s name was flashed across all news channels. A cramped chawl in Natraj compound leads to a small tin shed where Zahir, a small textile vendor, lived with his family – his parents, wife, oneyear-old son. Zahir’s family insists he was picked up by the police on August 9. Some four to five days after his detention, his younger brother, Zakir was summoned by the Prevention of Crime Branch (PCB) sleuths for questioning. Zakir was released after nine days of rigorous questioning. “Lagta hai Allah hamara imtihaan le raha hai (It seems God is testing us),” says 23-year-old Zakir. “My brother is innocent. I have never seen him hitting anyone. How can he be part of a terrorist plan to kill hundreds of innocent people?”





Terror’s new faces B Raman

20 08 2008

Source: Rediff.com

B Raman
August 19, 2008

The Gujarat police announced on August 16 the identification and arrest of 10 activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India in connection with the serial blasts in Ahmedabad [Images] on July 26. Nine of the arrests were made in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat and the tenth arrest, of Mufti Abu Bashir, the leader, was made with the co-operation of the Uttar Pradesh [Images] police in Azamgarh.

According to details given by a team of senior Gujarat police officers at a special press conference, the arrested persons formed the core of a larger group of SIMI [Images] activists who had planned and carried out the blasts in Ahmedabad, under the name of Indian Mujahideen [Images]. They also said while they have definitively established the involvement of these persons and their associates not yet arrested in the Gujarat blasts, they have some indications that some of these persons might have also been involved in the serial blasts of May in Jaipur [Images] and in the blasts of November 2007 in UP. Further investigation is in progress.

We said it first: Exclusive! Breakthrough in Ahmedabad blasts case

All the persons arrested so far and the suspects not yet arrested are Indians. All the arrested persons are in their 20s. A collation of available details is given below:

Abdul Rashid, also known as Mufti Abu Bashir Ilahi, aged 26. Believed by the police to be the mastermind behind the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26, and the planned but failed blasts in Surat [Images] the next day. Studied Arabic in the Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh. Comes from a lower middle class family in Azamgarh (village Beenapara) in Uttar Pradesh. Father, a paralytic, is unemployed and mother is a housewife. The family is dependent on his earnings as a teacher of Arabic in a madrasa in Hyderabad called the Jamait Ul Sheikh Al Maududi located at Pahadisharif in Hyderabad. The madrasa had been started by another native of Azamgarh called Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi.

Abu Bashir has four brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers are working in Delhi [Images] and Mumbai. The other siblings are studying in a madrasa in Azamgarh. Abu Bashir worked for two years in the Hyderabad madrasa, till January 2007. According to the Hyderabad police, he left the madrasa for Azamgarh that month. According to his father, he returned to his village only about a month ago saying the madrasa was closed for vacations. For nearly 18 months, he was neither in the madrasa nor his village. Some of this period between March and July 2008, he had spent in Ahmedabad.

According to the Gujarat police, he was present in Ahmedabad on the day of the blasts. It is not yet known where he was from January 2007 to March 2008, when he allegedly took over as the head of the SIMI network after the arrest of Safdar Nagori, the general secretary of SIMI, and his brother Karimuddin by the Indore police. Bashir came into contact with SIMI when he was teaching in the Hyderabad madrasa and became its active member.

Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi is an activist and known sympathiser of SIMI. His son Mohtasin Billa was also in SIMI.
While examining the cell phone records of Ahmedabad over a few months before the blasts, the Gujarat police’s crime branch identified five numbers which had only received incoming calls from public call offices located mostly at a place called Juhapura in Ahmedabad. Investigations indicated that during his stay in Ahmedabad Abu Bashir had purchased five SIM cards in the names of local residents. Zahid Sheikh was making the calls to Abu Bashir at these numbers. These numbers went silent after the blasts.

How the Ahmedabad blasts case was solved

Abu Bashir and Abdul Subban Quereshi were staying in a rented house at a place called Vatva in Ahmedabad. This house had been hired with the assistance of Zahid Shaikh and Sajid Mansuri.

Imran Ibrahim Sheikh, aged 23. Did a course in human rights and journalism in MS University, Vadodara, and arrested

Imran Ibrahim Sheikh. Bombs placed in Surat were assembled in his home.
Imran Ibrahim Sheikh. Bombs placed in Surat were assembled in his home.

in that city. Attended training camps in Kerala [Images] and Pavagadh near Vadodara under an assumed name. The police zeroed in on him after a scrutiny of his mobile phone records. During interrogation he denied any role in the blasts but mentioned the name of Zahid Sheikh. Imran Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri had visited Jaipur on May 13, 2008, when the serial blasts there had taken place.

The improvised explosive devices used in Ahmedabad and Surat were assembled at three different places — in the house at Vatva in Ahmedabad in which Abu Bashir was staying, in Imran Sheikh’s house in Vadodara, and in another house in Kalpur in Ahmedabad. It is not known who was staying in the Kalpur house.

Zahid Sheikh, a resident of Juhapura in Ahmedabad. Imran Sheikh’s interrogation led to him. He allegedly confessed that he had planted bombs on cycles in Ahmedabad. He named at least three people who were involved in the purchase of the bicycles and delivery of the IEDs.

Zahid Sheikh was under surveillance by the Ahmedabad police even before the blasts. He had also attended the training camps in Kerala and Gujarat under an assumed name. He had provided local logistics support for a team of nine — five from Madhya Pradesh [Images], two from Maharashtra and two from Karnataka — which had come to Ahmedabad. The team held meetings in the Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad in April, another one in a different city in May and the final one on July 20 at Zahid’s residence.

Zahid’s confession led to the arrest of Yunus Mansuri, Shanshuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin from Ahmedabad and Imran, Usman Agarbattiwala, Iqbal Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri from Vadodara.

Indian Mujahideen is SIMI V2.0

Usman Agarbattiwala, aged 24. A BCom graduate from MS University, Vadodara, he attended training camps in Kerala and Pavagadh near Vadodara under an assumed name. His laptop was allegedly used for programming the timer chips for the IEDs planted in Surat, which failed to explode.

Sajid Mansuri. Chief coordinator of Ahmedabad blasts.
Sajid Mansuri. Chief coordinator of Ahmedabad blasts.

Sajid Mansuri, a former zonal secretary of SIMI in Gujarat, had been absconding since 2001 and was finally arrested from Bharuch after the blasts.

Abdul Subban Qureshi. An explosives expert who holds a diploma in electronic engineering, he allegedly procured ammonium nitrate and timers for the Ahmedabad operation and had them stored in a safe house in Bharuch, and had attended SIMI’s meetings to plan the serial blasts. The arrested suspects have claimed that it was Abdul Subban Qureshi who drafted the three e-mails claiming responsibility for the blasts of November 2007 in UP, May in Jaipur and July in Ahmedabad on behalf of Indian Mujahideen. He forwarded the drafts to Mufti Bashir. Qureshi is absconding.

Adnan, also known as Hafiz Mullah is a young computer engineer and a prominent SIMI organiser for South India. He was arrested along with some other SIMI leaders in Indore in March 2008. He had named Abu Bashir as being responsible for SIMI activities in Gujarat.

Kamaruddin Nagori, brother of Safdar Nagori, was in charge of organising training camps. He was assisted by Adnan, Shibly Peedical Abdul and his brother Shaduli. The first camp was in Karnataka between April and September 2007, the second in Kerala in October-November 2007, the third in Madhya Pradesh in December 2007, and the fourth in Gujarat in January 2008.

ISI’s Indianisation of jihad

The plans for the series of blasts in different cities were drawn up during the training camp in the jungles of Waghamon near Aluva (previously Alwaye) in Kerala where 40 recruits from different states were put through a commando course. This camp was addressed by both Safdar and his brother. This camp was followed by the blasts in three cities of UP in November 2007.

Kayamuddin Kapadia is chief of SIMI operations in Gujarat
Kayamuddin Kapadia is chief of SIMI operations in Gujarat.

The plan for the blasts in Gujarat was drawn up at the Gujarat training camp held in Pavagadh in the Vadodara area. Many of those arrested by the Gujarat police after the blasts had attended this camp. After the arrest of the Nagori brothers and Adnan by the Indore police, Abu Bashir, assisted by Abdul Subban Quereshi and one Kayamuddin of Vadodara, took on the responsibility for organising the reprisal attacks planned in Gujarat. Initially, they thought of hijacking a plane or a kidnapping to demand the release of those arrested in Indore, before deciding on the blasts.

Others arrested by the Gujarat police: Yunus Mansuri, Shamsuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin and Iqbal Sheikh. Their particulars are not available.

Photographs Courtesy: Intelligence Sources






Terror’s new faces B Raman

20 08 2008

Source: Rediff.com

B Raman
August 19, 2008

The Gujarat police announced on August 16 the identification and arrest of 10 activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India in connection with the serial blasts in Ahmedabad [Images] on July 26. Nine of the arrests were made in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat and the tenth arrest, of Mufti Abu Bashir, the leader, was made with the co-operation of the Uttar Pradesh [Images] police in Azamgarh.

According to details given by a team of senior Gujarat police officers at a special press conference, the arrested persons formed the core of a larger group of SIMI [Images] activists who had planned and carried out the blasts in Ahmedabad, under the name of Indian Mujahideen [Images]. They also said while they have definitively established the involvement of these persons and their associates not yet arrested in the Gujarat blasts, they have some indications that some of these persons might have also been involved in the serial blasts of May in Jaipur [Images] and in the blasts of November 2007 in UP. Further investigation is in progress.

We said it first: Exclusive! Breakthrough in Ahmedabad blasts case

All the persons arrested so far and the suspects not yet arrested are Indians. All the arrested persons are in their 20s. A collation of available details is given below:

Abdul Rashid, also known as Mufti Abu Bashir Ilahi, aged 26. Believed by the police to be the mastermind behind the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26, and the planned but failed blasts in Surat [Images] the next day. Studied Arabic in the Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh. Comes from a lower middle class family in Azamgarh (village Beenapara) in Uttar Pradesh. Father, a paralytic, is unemployed and mother is a housewife. The family is dependent on his earnings as a teacher of Arabic in a madrasa in Hyderabad called the Jamait Ul Sheikh Al Maududi located at Pahadisharif in Hyderabad. The madrasa had been started by another native of Azamgarh called Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi.

Abu Bashir has four brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers are working in Delhi [Images] and Mumbai. The other siblings are studying in a madrasa in Azamgarh. Abu Bashir worked for two years in the Hyderabad madrasa, till January 2007. According to the Hyderabad police, he left the madrasa for Azamgarh that month. According to his father, he returned to his village only about a month ago saying the madrasa was closed for vacations. For nearly 18 months, he was neither in the madrasa nor his village. Some of this period between March and July 2008, he had spent in Ahmedabad.

According to the Gujarat police, he was present in Ahmedabad on the day of the blasts. It is not yet known where he was from January 2007 to March 2008, when he allegedly took over as the head of the SIMI network after the arrest of Safdar Nagori, the general secretary of SIMI, and his brother Karimuddin by the Indore police. Bashir came into contact with SIMI when he was teaching in the Hyderabad madrasa and became its active member.

Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi is an activist and known sympathiser of SIMI. His son Mohtasin Billa was also in SIMI.
While examining the cell phone records of Ahmedabad over a few months before the blasts, the Gujarat police’s crime branch identified five numbers which had only received incoming calls from public call offices located mostly at a place called Juhapura in Ahmedabad. Investigations indicated that during his stay in Ahmedabad Abu Bashir had purchased five SIM cards in the names of local residents. Zahid Sheikh was making the calls to Abu Bashir at these numbers. These numbers went silent after the blasts.

How the Ahmedabad blasts case was solved

Abu Bashir and Abdul Subban Quereshi were staying in a rented house at a place called Vatva in Ahmedabad. This house had been hired with the assistance of Zahid Shaikh and Sajid Mansuri.

Imran Ibrahim Sheikh, aged 23. Did a course in human rights and journalism in MS University, Vadodara, and arrested

Imran Ibrahim Sheikh. Bombs placed in Surat were assembled in his home.
Imran Ibrahim Sheikh. Bombs placed in Surat were assembled in his home.

in that city. Attended training camps in Kerala [Images] and Pavagadh near Vadodara under an assumed name. The police zeroed in on him after a scrutiny of his mobile phone records. During interrogation he denied any role in the blasts but mentioned the name of Zahid Sheikh. Imran Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri had visited Jaipur on May 13, 2008, when the serial blasts there had taken place.

The improvised explosive devices used in Ahmedabad and Surat were assembled at three different places — in the house at Vatva in Ahmedabad in which Abu Bashir was staying, in Imran Sheikh’s house in Vadodara, and in another house in Kalpur in Ahmedabad. It is not known who was staying in the Kalpur house.

Zahid Sheikh, a resident of Juhapura in Ahmedabad. Imran Sheikh’s interrogation led to him. He allegedly confessed that he had planted bombs on cycles in Ahmedabad. He named at least three people who were involved in the purchase of the bicycles and delivery of the IEDs.

Zahid Sheikh was under surveillance by the Ahmedabad police even before the blasts. He had also attended the training camps in Kerala and Gujarat under an assumed name. He had provided local logistics support for a team of nine — five from Madhya Pradesh [Images], two from Maharashtra and two from Karnataka — which had come to Ahmedabad. The team held meetings in the Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad in April, another one in a different city in May and the final one on July 20 at Zahid’s residence.

Zahid’s confession led to the arrest of Yunus Mansuri, Shanshuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin from Ahmedabad and Imran, Usman Agarbattiwala, Iqbal Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri from Vadodara.

Indian Mujahideen is SIMI V2.0

Usman Agarbattiwala, aged 24. A BCom graduate from MS University, Vadodara, he attended training camps in Kerala and Pavagadh near Vadodara under an assumed name. His laptop was allegedly used for programming the timer chips for the IEDs planted in Surat, which failed to explode.


Sajid Mansuri. Chief coordinator of Ahmedabad blasts.
Sajid Mansuri. Chief coordinator of Ahmedabad blasts.

Sajid Mansuri, a former zonal secretary of SIMI in Gujarat, had been absconding since 2001 and was finally arrested from Bharuch after the blasts.

Abdul Subban Qureshi. An explosives expert who holds a diploma in electronic engineering, he allegedly procured ammonium nitrate and timers for the Ahmedabad operation and had them stored in a safe house in Bharuch, and had attended SIMI’s meetings to plan the serial blasts. The arrested suspects have claimed that it was Abdul Subban Qureshi who drafted the three e-mails claiming responsibility for the blasts of November 2007 in UP, May in Jaipur and July in Ahmedabad on behalf of Indian Mujahideen. He forwarded the drafts to Mufti Bashir. Qureshi is absconding.

Adnan, also known as Hafiz Mullah is a young computer engineer and a prominent SIMI organiser for South India. He was arrested along with some other SIMI leaders in Indore in March 2008. He had named Abu Bashir as being responsible for SIMI activities in Gujarat.

Kamaruddin Nagori, brother of Safdar Nagori, was in charge of organising training camps. He was assisted by Adnan, Shibly Peedical Abdul and his brother Shaduli. The first camp was in Karnataka between April and September 2007, the second in Kerala in October-November 2007, the third in Madhya Pradesh in December 2007, and the fourth in Gujarat in January 2008.

ISI’s Indianisation of jihad

The plans for the series of blasts in different cities were drawn up during the training camp in the jungles of Waghamon near Aluva (previously Alwaye) in Kerala where 40 recruits from different states were put through a commando course. This camp was addressed by both Safdar and his brother. This camp was followed by the blasts in three cities of UP in November 2007.

Kayamuddin Kapadia is chief of SIMI operations in Gujarat
Kayamuddin Kapadia is chief of SIMI operations in Gujarat.

The plan for the blasts in Gujarat was drawn up at the Gujarat training camp held in Pavagadh in the Vadodara area. Many of those arrested by the Gujarat police after the blasts had attended this camp. After the arrest of the Nagori brothers and Adnan by the Indore police, Abu Bashir, assisted by Abdul Subban Quereshi and one Kayamuddin of Vadodara, took on the responsibility for organising the reprisal attacks planned in Gujarat. Initially, they thought of hijacking a plane or a kidnapping to demand the release of those arrested in Indore, before deciding on the blasts.

Others arrested by the Gujarat police: Yunus Mansuri, Shamsuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin and Iqbal Sheikh. Their particulars are not available.

Photographs Courtesy: Intelligence Sources