Friday’s serial blasts didn’t come as a surprise for the Uttar Pradesh police. In the last six months, they have seized 21 kilograms of high-grade explosives, including 11 kilograms of RDX. They were anticipating trouble, they admit.
Most of the seizures were from operatives of the Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islamia (HuJI), suspected to be behind Friday’s blasts. Security agencies also suspect HuJI’s hand in the May 18 and August 25 blasts in Hyderabad, which together claimed 55 lives.
This year’s biggest RDX seizure — 7 kilograms — came on June 21 following the arrest of two alleged HuJI operatives, Mohammed Yakub and Nasir, in Bijnore district. Six detonators were also found. Two days later, the Uttar Pradesh police’s Special Task Force arrested alleged HuJI area commander Jalaluddin and his associate Naushad from Lucknow. Nine kilograms of high-grade explosives, 10 detonators, 20 grenades, a Kalashnikov rifle and several rounds of ammunition were found on them.
“We have no doubts about HuJI’s capability,” STF Senior Superintendent of Police Amitabh Yash told HT. “Sometimes we succeed, sometimes they do. This year, we foiled two similar attacks and neutralised the modules involved. Uttar Pradesh is very sensitive as we have a porous border with Nepal.”
On July 11, for the first time, the police recovered RDX in the form of sticks from alleged HuJI men S. Mukhtar, Mohammed Ali and Azil-ur-Rehman in Lucknow’s Mohanlalganj area. Usually, it’s in powder form. Apart from the two RDX sticks, each weighing a kilogram, 10 detonators and 10 grenades were found on them.