Officials investigating the alleged Islamic State terror plot that was unravelled with the arrest of four students in Uttarakhand have said that the plan did not include a powerful, mass-casualty strike but an explosion that would have led to a fatal stampede at the Ardh Kumbh, a key day of pilgrimage for Hindus.
The officials recovered makings of rudimentary explosives using scrapped matchsticks which, while not being potent to cause deaths, could have led to chaos at the target site, the Har ki Pauri ghat in Haridwar, which is usually packed with thousands of people during the period of the pilgrimage.
“They planned to strike Ardh Kumbh precisely because they wanted it to snowball into a communal riot. They planned that when an Islamic group would claim responsibility for the attack, it would automatically lead to communal tension and violence. The men planned to take advantage of the growing insecurities among people in India,” the sources said.