Mangaluru blast: Accused has ties with international terror organisation, say cops

Cops say Shariq used a messaging app to link up with Islamic State militants from whom he learned how to make a bomb.


Published Nov 21, 2022 | 3:39 PMUpdatedNov 21, 2022 | 3:39 PM

CCTV Visual of Mangaluru blast.(Screen grab)

Police found materials that go into making bombs 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, 21 November.

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 ₹5 lakh,” the ADGP said.

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

Shariq, hailing from Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district, was travelling in an autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with a detonator, wires and batteries, when it exploded on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Saturday, 19 November.

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

Karnataka police termed the explosion “an act of terror” with the 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.

Also read: Mangaluru blast case probe expands to more states

Taha was the “main handler”. He along with Khwaja and Mohammed Pasha from Tamil Nadu were booked under the provisions of the 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 the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, police sources said.

Shariq: A serial offender

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 15 August in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga.

Mohammad Shariq, the prime suspect in the Mangaluru blast case (Screen grab).

Mohammad Shariq, the prime suspect in the Mangaluru blast case (Screen grab).

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.

Ties with IS militants?

A messaging services app came in 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 the 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.

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