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Mysore: Terrorists remanded to police custody

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Last updated on: October 27, 2006 20:12 IST

The two Pakistani nationals of Pakistan-based Al Badar militant outfit, who were arrested near Mysore early Friday morning, were remanded to police custody for 14 days by a court.

The militants Mohd Ali Hussain and Mohd Fahad were produced before the court amidst tight security on Friday evening with restrictions put on entry to the court.

Both were arrested after a gun battle with police who intercepted them.

Meanwhile, the Mysore Bar Association decided that no advocate should appear for the two militants. It would also make a request to their counterparts in the state to follow suit, an Association statement said.

Following the arrest, the police claimed to have foiled a 'devastating' terror strike plan in the Karnataka.

Vikas Soudha, the annexe to the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, was their target, Karnataka Home Minister M P Prakash said on Friday.

"The latest incident has brought to focus that the threat perception was more on the city for its brand name as IT capital and it is unfortunate that the state has to pay a price like this for its initiatives to boost development," Prakash told reporters.

The documents seized from the arrested, including a laptop, showed that they had targeted Vikas Soudha, for which a lesser number of police personnel has been drafted for security, unlike the Vidhana Soudha, he said.

Questioning of the militants revealed that they planned to undertake activities targeted at destabilising the government and unleashing terror, he said, adding that one of the arrested had been trained in the manufacture of bombs.

The state had been receiving alerts from the Centre on the threat perception, particularly in the aftermath of the terror attack on Indian Institute of Science last year, Prakash said.

Refusing to reveal the steps the state has put in place, he said, "All necessary measures have been taken to ensure that militants do not create panic".

A massive hunt has been launched for the associates of the two arrested militants, he said, but refused to share details. "May be there are more. We can't say anything now," he said.

Sketches of Vidhan Soudha and 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 terrorists, Karnataka Director General of Police B S Sial said.

An AK-47 rifle, a foreign made pistol, a cell phone, detonators, a digital camera and passports were also recovered from them, he said.

Describing their arrests as a 'major breakthrough,' the police chief said, "A major disaster or terrorist activity has been averted in Bangalore or other places in Karnataka."

The state police, he said, had inputs from the central intelligence agencies that a foreign based terrorist outfit was planning a 'spectacular or devastating strike' in Vikas Soudha and some other important places.

Tightening security in Vidhana Soudha, which houses the state secretariat, the Bangalore city police have deployed explosive detectors to check vehicles entering the area.

All vehicles entering Vidhana Soudha from the east and west gates are subjected to explosive detection tests by police.

As a precautionary measure, the police have posted at least two AK-47 weilding gunmen at each of the entrances, besides enhancing the security at Vikas Soudha, the annexe to Vidhana Soudha.

Karachi-based Fahad is 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, he said.

Fahad, who was also well-versed in computers and IT-related software, and had an Indian Visa, had been residing in Mysore since the past six to eight months. He was running a shop called Royal Fancy Stores as a cover up for his activities, Sial added.

Hussain, a school drop-out, was involved in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir before moving to Mysore three or four months ago, the DGP said. 

Police had information that Fahad came through Mumbai, Sial said, maintaining that this will be verified through investigations.

Al-Badr is a 'notorious terrorist outfit' banned by India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004, he said.

Sial did not rule out the possibility of the associates of the arrested terrorists having escaped. Police were keeping a close watch on airports and railway and bus stations, he added.

To a question if the terrorists had RDX with them, he said, "They may be having. We are trying to find out about their hideouts, their associates, their plan and whether they were expecting material support and from which quarter."

He said the police will download the data in the laptop, analyse telephone numbers and other information and get in touch with the central intelligence agencies. The terrorists had surveyed the Vikas Soudha, which was exposed in terms of security, he said.

The central intelligence agencies had also informed the state police that some foreign-based terrorists had sneaked into Mysore and perhaps are hiding there and planning some terrorist activities -- an input that made the police to keep a close watch, Sial said.

He said the two terrorists had also surveyed the Central Institute of Regional Languages in Mysore, a reputed institute, which attracts foreigners. Terrorists had struck at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore last year during an international conference killing a former IIT-Delhi professor.

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