Even as the Assam Police arrested a person for allegedly sending an SMS, claiming that Islamic Security Force (Indian Mujahideen) had carried out the blasts, IG (Special Branch) Khagen Sarma said the police had doubts over the existence of the organisation.
Sarma told Hindustan Times that the SMS sent from Nazir Ahmed's mobile phone to a television channel could very well be a red herring. Or, he said, “The person who sent the SMS may not have any knowledge about the ISF. It could have been a coincidence of his thought and the name of a Jehadi outfit.”
On Thursday, 13 blasts ripped apart nine places in Assam, leaving 81 people killed so far and around 300 injured. Besides Nazir Ahmed, two more persons were arrested on Saturday and 20 more were detained, including Muzammil Haque, nephew of former minister Rashidul Haque.
On Saturday, a 12-hour shutdown called by the BJP and VHP to protest the blasts greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi here. The bandh triggered sporadic clashes with the police, resulting in the arrest of more than 1,000 people.
Sarma said the Assam Police had information about the setting up of some Islamic outfits in the late 1990s after clashes between Bodo tribesmen and immigrant Muslims in Barpeta and Bongaigaon districts. The ISF was one of those outfits. But most of them later died a natural death.
He suspected that Thursday's terror attack might have been organised by some Jihadi elements outside the state with local assistance. "We may at last identify the culprits who are not from the state," he noted.
Meanwhile, the police found that ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser, and phthalic anhydride were used for making the plasticisers used with the RDX in the three car bombs.
IG (Law and Order) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, claimed, "We are headed in the right direction." He said specialists were making sketches of two suspected bomb planters at the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court on the basis of descriptions by two advocates.
On the explosives used in the blasts, Mahanta said ammonium nitrate, widely used by farmers, had also been used in recent terror strikes elsewhere. Phthalic anhydride, on the other hand, is used for making plasticisers to manufacture rocket propellants and smokeless gunpowder also.
Investigators also said of the three Maruti cars used in as many blasts, one was originally from Jammu and Kashmir and another was registered in Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
The state government decided to form a special task force to monitor the ULFA and the Jihadi groups' activities in Assam.