Mysore: Mysore woke up on Friday to the disturbing news of two Pakistani terrorists being arrested on late Thursday night after a shootout.
The Karnataka Police claim the two terrorists - Ali Hussain and Mohammad Fahad - were planning to attack vital installations in the city and in the state capital Bangalore.
Says DGP Karnataka B S Sial, "With the arrest of these two persons, we have been able to prevent a major disaster and terror strike in Bangalore and in the other parts of the state including Mysore."
The police say the terrorists were staying in a house in Mysore's Rajeev Nagar. The house had apparently been under surveillance for the past few months
Says Mysore Police Commissioner Praveen Sood, "We have got some literature which confirms that these men belong to the Al Badr group, which is a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activity Act. They were part of the recci group and had been sent here to survey major installations."
FOILED TERROR BID
Police said the two were planning an attack on the Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore, which houses the state legislature. The suspects have been identified as Mohammed Fayeed, from Manshera, Pakistan, and Ali Hussain from Karachi. Police have found Pakistani passport on one of the two arrested.
A gunfight took place near the city’s Vijayanagar Extension, where a police team intercepted the suspects traveling on two-wheeler. The militants fired from an AK-47 rifle at police who returned the fire before getting arresting them around midnight, Mysore Police Commissioner Pravin Sood said.
Two bullets fired by the militants hit a police vehicle and two constables and a militant suffered minor injuries. The police have recovered the AK-47 rifle, a pistol and some ammunition from the militants, he said. "We had some information about them and intercepted them".
Sketches of the state secretariat and its newly constructed annexe 'Vikasa Soudha', a satellite phone with numbers linked to Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, a laptop and some commonly available chemicals used for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from the militants, Sial said.
Police Commissioner Pravin Sood said a satellite phone which they were using to communicate with Pakistan and Kashmir was also seized, besides "some incriminating" material.
Till now Mysore had been off the terror radar, even though South India has been targetted by terrorists on previous occasions. With the advent of foreign capital and IT companies in the city, it looks like the people of Mysore will now have to live with this clear and present danger.
Terrorism in this tourist city is a wake up call to powers that be that perhaps hatred is closer than we realise and terror can come when we least expect it. This time fortunately terror has not won.
SOUTH INDIA TERROR TIMELINE
|In India, terror attacks have been confined to north India, having hardly traveled down south.|
|However, with the attack on Indian Institute of Science in December, investigating agencies say more and more sleeper cells are being activated and India's silicon valley, Bangalore, is the first target of terrorists.|
|In February 1998 serial bomb blasts within a 12 km radius in Coimbatore killed 46 people - 35 men, 10 women and one child. Over 200 were injured in the 13 bombs that exploded in 11 places.|
|Just three days after this, bomb blasts rocked Coimbatore again this time killing 4 people and on the same day, the police defused a car bomb planted at BJP President L K Advani's meeting ground.|
|In October this year a blast in Hyderabad at the high-security Begumpet area in the special task force office killed 2 people. It was suspected to be the first incident of suicide bombing in the state.|
|Sleuths say that there is a possibility that these modules are not just going to carry out operations in south Indian cities only, but will also plan hits across the country. |
This theory rang true when police teams visited Karnataka in search of terrorists after the blasts in Delhi just before Diwali last year.
WHO ARE THESE MEN?
|Karachi-based Fahad was a post-graduate in "analytical chemistry" who had been trained in making explosives and was influenced by the Al-Badr ideology which was critical of Gujarat riots and Babri Masjid demolition.|
|Fahad, who was also well-versed in computers and IT-related software and had an Indian Visa, was staying in Mysore for the past six to eight months and running a shop called "Royal Fancy Stores" as a cover up for his activities.|
|Hussain, a school drop-out, was involved in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir before moving to Mysore three or four months ago.|
|Police had information that Fahad came through Mumbai, though this would be verified by investigations.|
|The police are trying to verify whether the men have any more associates and if they had RDX in their possession. They are also on the lookout for other hideouts.|