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'Jihadi, Hindu rightwing groups different'

india Updated: Nov 02, 2009 11:42 IST

The Goa police believe there is a difference between jihadi terrorism and right wing Hindu terrorism. A senior police official who is investigating the Diwali eve blast carried out by members affiliated to the Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha (SS) in Margao, a major town in South Goa 35 km from Panaji, said that the Oct 16 blast was aimed at targeting a public function, unlike other threats by jihadi groups received by Goa in the past.

"The aims and goals of both groups differ. Jihadi elements have threatened Goa's coastline in the past. We have also received threats of places frequented by tourists being targeted in the past. But this is different," Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande told reporters.

"The recent attack shows that the target was a public function frequented by many people. Chaos was perhaps their intended objective," he added.

Goa, a tourist haven, has received several terror threats in the past especially from October to March, the period which attracts the most tourists to the state.

The threats from jihadi groups, according to police, targeted popular night spots.

After the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai last year, Goa even saw bunkers and gun turrets all along its beaches after intelligence agencies warned of a terror threat from the sea.

Amidst these increasing number of terror threats from jihadi groups over the last few years, the Diwali eve blast by the Hindu group SS could have caught the police off guard.

Two people, both members of the SS, died in the Diwali eve blast when detonator-rigged gelatine sticks they were ferrying on a scooter exploded. Malgonda Patil, a Sangli-based high ranking member of the SS died of injuries a few hours after the blast; the other scooter rider Yogesh Naik succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

Both Patil and Naik, who have been accused in the blast case, were parking their scooter near a festive gathering 100 metres from the district administration headquarters building when the gelatine sticks exploded. Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was in close proximity when the incident occurred.

The police have arrested two people in connection with the Goa blast. Both the accused Vinay Talekar, 30, and Vinayak Patil, 27, are originally from Karnataka.