Mangaluru blast case puts spotlight on Shariq, accused in a 2020 UAPA case

The police have been looking for Shariq for his alleged involvement in anti-national activities and connection to the Islamic State group.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Nov 20, 2022 | 9:10 PM Updated Nov 20, 2022 | 11:00 PM

Mangaluru blast pressure cooker

The improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in Mangaluru on Saturday, 19 November, has put the focus back on a man accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) back in 2020.

While the Karnataka Police are yet to officially disclose the identity of the suspect in the pressure cooker blast case — who is currently under treatment following injuries in the explosion — the spotlight is on one Mohammad Shariq, who was being pursued by the Shivamogga police in an earlier case.

The Shivamogga District Police has been looking for Shariq, son of Abdul Majeed, for his alleged involvement in “anti-national activities” and suspected connection to banned terrorist organisations, including the Islamic State group.

A UAPA accused

Investigators inspecting the autorickshaw in which the blast occurred. Remains of the pressure cooker. (Supplied)

Investigators inspecting the autorickshaw in which the blast occurred. Remains of the pressure cooker. (Supplied)

When South First dug into the history of Shariq, reports from the Shivamogga District Police showed that he was a habitual offender charged under the UAPA.

He was also named as one of the two conspirators in the 2020 Mangaluru graffiti case, in which pro-terror graffiti appeared at two places in the coastal Karnataka city.

Shariq is believed to be the main conspirator behind the stabbing of a youth identified as Prem Singh in Shivamogga city. The incident was reported on 15 August.

The Doddapete police arrested four persons connected to the case. As the investigation progressed, the role of Shariq was unearthed in the case.

His associates were found to be Maaz and Yaseen. Maaz was also accused in the 2020 graffiti case.

Other incidents

In another incident, based on the complaint of the investigating officer of the Doddapete Police Station, it was found that a conspiracy was hatched to further the terror activities of the Islamic State group.

“The main purpose was to disturb the unity, security and sovereignty of the country, deliberately and unlawfully possessing explosives endangering public property and life, and burning of the national flag of India,” claimed police reports, copies of which are with South First.

A case connected to these anti-national activities was registered at the Shivamogga Rural Police Station.

Shariq is also accused of radicalising many youngsters of the Muslim community and is alleged to have discussed fundamental ideas and concepts of jihad.

He allegedly used to send files, videos, audio, and hyperlinks related to extremism, radicalisation, and works of the Islamic State group and other banned terror organisations, according to police reports.

He and his associates were also accused of being members of channels run on the app Telegram by the Islamic State group’s official media centre Al-Hayat, claimed police reports.

Shariq professed the ideologues of the group and was conspiring, with his associates, to carry out terror activities as per its agenda, the police reports said.

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Actions intended to spread terror

“The main intention was to achieve ‘real independence’ by waging war against the existing Indian system and establishing the Caliphate and by enforcement of Sharia law. They planned to launch war similar to the operations of the Islamic State group and declare war against the non-believers (kafirs) through jihad to uplift Islam and have stored the materials required to make explosives for the purpose,” according to the investigative reports of the police.

The associates of Shariq had learnt the process of making explosive weapons, such as bombs. The materials required were purchased from the e-commerce websites and some were purchased in Shivamogga.

“The accused had experimentally exploded the bomb at Kemmangundi, on the banks of Tunga river in Shivamogga district. The experimental blast was successful,” claimed police reports.

“The accused had also stored more explosives to perform jihad shortly. Shariq had sent the money required to make the bomb to his associates through cryptocurrency. Searches were conducted at several locations in Shivamogga, Mangaluru, and Thirthahalli, which is the hometown of Shariq. The police managed to gather large amounts of evidence,” claimed police reports.

Cops reportedly seized explosive materials, remnants of an experimental bomb, a half-burnt Indian Tricolour, and relevant documents connected to the case.

“Shariq had kept his profile low for the past few months and was out on bail in the 2020 Mangaluru graffiti case. Numerous cases have been registered against him under UAPA in different police limits in Shivamogga,” claimed police sources.