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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Bengaluru: tech hub to terror target

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 19, 2013
First Published: 01:49 IST(19/4/2013) | Last Updated: 02:55 IST(19/4/2013)

The IT hub of Bengaluru has been a terror hub for long.

Wednesday’s blast was the last in a chain of attacks that began back in 2005, with the audacious attack on the Indian Institute of Science.

Though the Lashkar-e-Taiba was the architect of that attack, and it is yet to be known who was behind the latest blast, the seeds of terror had been sown in the city by the banned organisation Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

In March 2008, around a dozen members of the militant faction of SIMI, led by Safdar Nagori, were arrested. It brought into the open the radical underbelly of the city and placed it firmly on the map as a feeder city to the terror network.

What chiefly made it a particularly lucrative recruiting ground for jehadis was the ready supply of well-educated youths – who became extremely effective when it came to carrying out urban bombings.

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Shibli Peedical Abdul, a computer engineer arrested along with Nagori, worked in Bengaluru intermittently between 2000 and 2006.

One of his comrades was Yahya Kammkutti, a Karnataka-based software engineer who worked in a multinational company and had been to the US.

In May 1999, Kammkutti cost his company Rs. 13 lakh per annum. Then there were MBBS students like Mohammed Asif from Hubli.

The Karnataka linkages also emerged in 2008 with the crackdown on Indian Mujahideen. Since 2005, it has been behind a series of urban bombings.

The coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal came on the terror radar only after the August-September 2008 crackdown on the IM.

Brothers Iqbal Shahbandari and Riyaz Shahbandari, better known as Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, had originally come from Bhatkal.


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