After allegedly executing serial blasts at Bodh Gaya in July last year, one of the key accused in the case, Haidar Ali, had sent a letter to a government office in Patna in which he claimed the responsibility of the strike on behalf of ‘Indian Islamic Wing of al Qaeda’, counter-terror officials told HT.
“The detailed interrogation of Haidar is on. Initial findings suggest that the handwriting in the letter is similar to Haidar’s, but we are seeking expert report on it. Haidar will be asked to explain why he mentioned al Qaeda in the letter,” said the official requesting anonymity.
The letter was received at the Press Information Bureau office in Patna.
Besides naming the outfit a wing of al Qaeda, its full name was mentioned as Jamat al-Tawhid wal-Qisas, which counter- terror officials say could be a possible reference to Jamat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, the earlier name of al Qaeda in Iraq.
It was the first instance in the country wherein a terror outfit claimed itself to be the wing of al Qaeda.
The letter, written in chaste Hindi, started with ‘Sabhi Tarif Allah ki hai jo sare jahan ka palanhar hai aur sachcha mabood hai’ (All praise is for Allah who nurtures the whole world and who is a true divine) and said the Buddhist shrine was targeted in retaliation of atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Haidar, 25, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on May 20 along with three other associates in Jharkhand. He is alleged to be associated with the banned terror outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Haidar is also accused of masterminding serial blasts in Patna in October last year at the time of Narendra Modi’s public meeting who was then on a campaign trail as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.