Infamous as Lashkar-e-Taiba’s ‘bomb expert’, Abdul Karim Tunda had his first brush with explosives at the age of 12 in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilkhuwa.
Tunda has told his interrogators that he learnt the art of making bombs on his own.
A local vendor used to show a magic trick to sell his wares. The trick involved ‘churan’, sugar and potash to create a spark of fire. “It sparked his interest and he somehow learnt that trick,” a senior police officer said.
Tunda joined jehadi forces in 1985 after some of his relatives were killed in communal riots in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra.
“He wanted to strike back. That was the time when he actually remembered the old trick and started experimenting with sugar, potash and sulphuric acid and learnt to make a bomb,” said the officer.
Later, in Mumbai, he befriended one Jalees Ansari, whom he taught the tricks of bomb-making. Ansari went on to earn the dubious distinction of being ‘Dr Bomb’.