Highlights

  • Mangaluru blast accused inspired by global terror outfits
  • Shariq's handler operated from Bengaluru
  • Bomb making material retrieved from his house

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Mangaluru autorickshaw blast: Accused 'inspired' by global terror outfit, say police

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Alok Kumar said the police are trying to find out the 24-year old's links with people outside Karnataka.

Police found materials that go into making bomb from the rented house in Mysuru of Mangaluru autorickshaw blast accused Mohammed Shariq, who was "influenced and inspired" by a global terrorist organisation, a senior police officer said on Monday.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Alok Kumar said the police are trying to find out the 24-year old's links with people outside Karnataka.

"His handler was Abdul Mateen Taha from Suddaguntepalya (in Bengaluru) on whom the National Investigation Agency has announced a reward of Rs five lakh," the ADGP said.

Shariq was "influenced and inspired" by a (terrorist) organisation with global presence, Kumar said.

Shariq, hailing from Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district, was travelling in an autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries, when it exploded on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Saturday.

He suffered burn injuries, is currently being treated in a city hospital and unable to speak.

Karnataka police termed the explosion "an act of terror" with intention to cause serious damage.

They are probing the incident along with central agencies.

"...Our priority is to see that he survives, we have to take him to a stage where we can question him," Kumar said.

"We found matchbox, sulphur, phosphorus, batteries, circuit and nut and bolts from the (Shariq's rented) house (in Mysuru). Mohan Kumar, the owner of the house, was not aware of these activities," Kumar said.

Taha was the "main handler". He along with Khwaja and Mohammed Pasha from Tamil Nadu were booked under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act at Suddaguntepalya in Bengaluru in 2020.

Apart from Taha, Arafat Ali from Thirthahalli was also like his handler, he added.

Search operations were carried out in seven locations including Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Mysuru and Thirthahalli, the ADGP said.

"We are trying to find out those who harboured him," he added.

Shariq is being booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, police sources said.

He was also involved in painting objectionable graffiti in Mangaluru earlier and was later released on bail.

His name had also earlier surfaced when a communal clash broke out over putting up the Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's photo at a public place on August 15 in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga.

The vandals had gone on a rampage and stabbed Prem Singh, a servant in a nearby shop.

In this connection, police arrested Mohammed Zabihulla alias Charbi, Syed Yasin and Maaz Muneer Ahmed while Shariq absconded.

Yasin and Maaz had told police at the time that they were "brainwashed" by Shariq. The group was planning to set up an Islamic State base in the country and wanted to "establish a Caliphate" in the country.

A messaging services app came handy for Shariq to establish a link with the Syria-based Islamic State (IS) militants from whom they got a PDF to learn how to make a bomb, a police officer from Shivamogga who investigated the case told PTI.

This year, the group prepared an improvised explosive device to carry out destruction and tested it on the banks of Tunga river. Their next target was to carry out explosions in various parts of Karnataka, the officer said.

"Shariq had made the gang members into believing that the independence India got from the British was not a real one. They need to struggle further to establish a Caliphate. Only then, India will get freedom", the Shivamogga-based terror module members had told the investigating police team then.

Also watch: Main suspect identified in Mangaluru auto rickshaw blast case

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