Terrorists are eyeing Dhule — a town in northwest Maharashtra which saw communal riots in 2008 and 2013 — for their next strike, intelligence sources have told HT. Delhi and Mumbai are also high on their hit list.
With intelligence inputs indicating that Indian Mujahideen terrorist group co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal wanted to target communal hotspots in the country, red flag has gone up for Dhule in north Maharashtra as a possible target of master perpetrator Yasin Bhatkal after Hyderabad as it was hit by riots in January 2013.
Official sources said arrested IM operative Imran, who was picked up by Delhi Police last October, told his interrogators post-Hyderabad blasts that they had opposed Dilsukhnagar as the target to Riyaz Bhatkal as they feared huge loss of innocent lives including that off the minority community.
But Riyaz, according to Imran, told them that the group will target all those places where communal riots have taken place. Two persons of the minority community also lost their lives and another four were injured in the twin blasts.
Post February 21 twin blasts in Hyderabad, round the clock vigil has been mounted to nab Yasin Bhatkal as there is substantive evidence that the baseball cap wearing man behind February 2010 Pune Bakery blast was also the bomber of Dilsukhnagar.
The other bomber is suspected to be Assadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, the Azamgarh man who escaped the Batla House encounter in September 2008.
State Police sources said the use of freshly painted bicycles with reinforced handles for stability, white cloth bags containing explosive devices in aluminum container all point to Yasin Bhatkal as the mastermind.
Although the security agencies are focusing on Hyderabad Old City for a possible accomplice, they suspect that the bombers left the city much before the blasts.