Though the Tamil Nadu-based (Indian) Towheed Jamaat has distanced itself from the blasts, its protestations cannot be taken at face-value considering the fact its founder P Jainulabdeen had plenty of connections in Sri Lanka. Active IS terror modules in our boundary have dangerous portents for the country.
As the investigation into the Sri Lanka blasts progresses in a curious manner in the island nation, here in India, things seem to be getting intriguing.
The Indian angle to the blasts, which is said to have killed over 250 people, had been staring at us in our face. The Indian intelligence agency had officially tipped off the Lankan authorities about the possibility of an impending terror strike there. For reasons that Colombo alone can fathom, it sat on the information and eventually, a national disaster unfolded there.
But having botched the pre-blasts situation, the Lankan authorities seem to be inspiring even less confidence in the way they are going about the probe in the case that has global ramifications.
A Sri Lankan minister said in the immediate aftermath of the blasts that they were reprisal attacks to the shooting that was carried out by a white supremacist in a mosque in Christchurch on March 15.
An attack as closely coordinated and massively orchestrated (in 8 different spots) could be planned and pulled off in such a short span was certainly difficult to believe. But the Lankan minister shot his mouth, but later it emerged that it was just a fanciful conjecture.
The Lankan authorities also bungled on the number of dead. The original figure was touted over 350, but later it was scaled down to around 250 due to 'counting error'. A government in control wouldn't do much such silly school-children mistakes. Also, the fact that one of the masterminds (and his family members) were killed in a government raid after the blasts does not reflect well on the security strategy and investigations.
Over a week since the blasts, nobody is any wiser to the exact reason for the same. The scale of the disaster points to a well-established terror network. The ISIS has claimed responsibility, and its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appearing in a video after five long years and taking credit for Lanka blasts makes for an interesting read. As is believed now, radicalised youth of the National Towheed Jamaat (NTJ), a local outfit, had taken training with the ISIS terror modules and pulled off the heinous explosions.
But it is the Indian angle to the developments that should keep us wary.
Though the Tamil Nadu-based (Indian) Towheed Jamaat has distanced itself from the blasts, its protestations cannot be taken at face-value considering the fact its founder P Jainulabdeen had plenty of connections in Lanka (He was deported from Lanka in 2005 for his radical views that are framed on the Wahabi tenets).
Geostrategist ad defence writer Brahma Chellaney recently mentioned in his column (in Hindustan Times) that Tamil Nadu's Towheed Jamaat is funded by Saudi. He also claimed that the Lankan attacks hold major implications for Indian security because the Tamil Nadu outfit is one that helped establish the Lankan arm, "from which the bomber outfit NTJ emerged as a splinter".
Concomitantly, it has also emerged that the NIA has been carrying out searches in Kerala in connection with the Lanka blasts, and on Monday it arrested a man, who is a follower of Sri Lankan Easter bombing mastermind Zahran Hashim, on the charge of conspiring to carry out a similar suicide attack in Kerala.
The man identified as Riyas A alias Riyas Aboobacker or Abu Dujana, a resident of Palakkad, has reportedly confessed that he had been following speeches/videos of Hashim for more than a year and has also followed the speeches of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
But the revelations emerging today seem most dangerous for India. Apparently, the terror mastermind Zahran Hashim spent around two to three months in India (probably in December-January-February) and he had been in touch with certain people in India since he went back to Sri Lanka.
Sources say over ten people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu are being investigated in India as their phone numbers were found to be in the call records of Zahran Hashim's mobile phone.
If it is confirmed, it is huge and is a potential headache for Indian intelligence and security agencies. Active IS terror modules in our boundary have dangerous portents for the country.
It is imperative for Indian and Lankan security agencies to work in close coordination and share information so that the terror network is dismantled at the earliest.
Indian elections should not distract the security apparatus from the mammoth task of snuffing out the challenge posed by Islamic terrorists.
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Last Updated Apr 30, 2019, 4:29 PM IST