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Mecca Masjid blast mastermind dead

india Updated: Jun 03, 2008 01:08 IST
Abhishek Sharan
Abhishek Sharan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Mohammed Abdul Shahid, better known as Shahid ‘Bilal’, former chief of HuJI’s Indian operations, and alleged mastermind of a series of terrorist attacks since 2005 including the blast at Hyderabad’s historic Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007 and the twin Lumbini theatre-Gokul Chat blasts in the same city on August 25 last year, is dead.

Hyderabad’s most famous jehadi was shot dead by masked gunmen in Karachi on August 30, 2007, central intelligence sources have told Hindustan Times. The 34-year-old Bilal’s elder brother Samad too was killed in the attack.

According to these sources, both R&AW and the IB have been aware of Bilal’s death, but have never confirmed it.

Over two dozen of Bilal’s associates were arrested by the Hyderabad police last year for their suspected role in the two bombings. Hindustan Times was the first to track down Bilal’s home at 16/11/240, Malakpet, one of Hyderabad’s Muslim-dominated areas, and speak to his mother, Hafeeza Begum, 61, and sister, Umera Begum, 26.

The story appeared in Hindustan Times’s August 30, 2007 edition, the same day that, it now appears, Bilal was murdered.

The death is confirmed, the sources said, in a bit of HuJI cyber communication picked up by Indian intelligence. The intercept contains a picture of the dead Bilal, his head seemingly punctured by multiple bullets, and a glowing obituary, in Urdu and English, lauding his “embrace of martyrdom in the path of Allah”.

The obituary, written with poetic flourish, described the Class 12 dropout of Hyderabad’s Mumtaz College as the “magnificent commander of the battle of India,” hoped to welcome “more Bilals” in the future to further jehad: “This coup is the coup of Truth, defeated you will be in it, Shahids will emerge from every home, how many Shahids can you kill?”

Hyderabad’s police chief B Prasad Rao told HT: “We are aware of this communication that shows his dead body, that his family has mourned for Bilal and his brother Samad. But we are not in a position to verify the death on our own... the union home ministry has been trying to do this… The blasts at Mecca mosque, the twin blasts, and the attack on the STF headquarters were done by Bilal or modules associated with him.”

A Pakistan-trained Hyderabadi terror suspect, Riyazuddin Nassir, one of the eight men arrested since January 2008 by police
in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, has also confirmed Bilal’s death during interrogation, the sources said.