India’s most populous state was todayÂ rocked by a series of blasts:
“The bombs placed on bicycles went off simultaneously in and around the court premises in Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad. Nine people have been killed in Varanasi, while four deaths have been reported from Faizabad.
Bangladesh based outfit Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islamia (HuJI) is suspected to be behind the blasts but an unknown group, the Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility. The group apparently sent an email to a private TV channel just five minutes before the blasts. They also said they are purely Indian and not connected to the ISI [Pakistan Intelligence Service], the Lashkar-e-Toiba [Pakistani terrorist group based in Kashmir]Â or Huji.”
A possible motive has now emerged:
“According to the police, the blasts may be in retaliation to the arrested terrorists being beaten up by lawyers and not being assigned even a counsel to defend them in the court.
All three court premises in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, targeted today by the militants, had seen an incident of manhandling of militants or activists of anti-Ram temple in Ayodhya by lawyers.
Last week three JeM [Jaish-e-Mohammed] militants were roughed up by lawyers and the bar association refused to take up their cases. Faizabad court premises was witness to an altercation between activists of a Babri Masjid organisation and lawyers.”
The demolition of the Ayodhya mosque and the attempts to construct a temple on the site has been a running sore in India for fifteen years, and the original incident helped propel the BJP to greater prominence:
“Ayodhya is also the centre of the Ayodhya Debate concerning the Ram Janmabhoomi temple and the Babri Mosque. The mosque was destroyed in 1992 by Kar Sevaks and rioters due to the belief that the Ram Janmabhoomi existed prior to the mosque’s construction and that the temple was the birthplace of Rama. The title suit on the disputed site is currently pending in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court and its judgment is expected shortly.”
If this really is the work of a fully-home grown group of terrorists, this adds a worrying new dimension to India’s terrorism problems. Previous attacks have usually involved terrorists backed by groups in Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Â Security sources point to a possible Huji connection on the other hand:
“While forensic experts were still studying the nature of the blasts, sources in the security agencies says they believe the banned Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia or HuJI may have triggered the blasts.
They said Jaish-e-Mohammed could have sought the help of HuJI as both the outfits followed the Deoband sect of Islam. HuJI, which is being mainly run from Bangaldesh, has managed to establish cells in the Uttar Pradesh and that the outfit was responsible for previous major terror attacks.”
Update: The same group could be ready to launch fresh attacks:
“Yet another threat has been received from the same email ID that sent a warning on Friday, moments before the serial blasts in UP that killed 13 people. This time the email is naming new targets.
The email, received by a TV channel, specifies dates and targets but as the source of the email is still under investigation. State and Central intelligence agencies are still examining Friday’s email from a group called Indian Mujahideen, claiming responsibility for the blasts. But investigators believe that it could be just a smokescreen.
The email is suspected to have been sent from the Rajdhani cyber cafe in east Delhi. The police are questioning the owner.”
Also, Cover Drive kindly translates the first e-mail sent by the group supposedly responsible for the blasts.
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Filed in: India