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Patna blasts: Is Ranchi's Sitiyo village the new terror address?

india Updated: Oct 29, 2013 11:19 IST
Deepak Mahto
Deepak Mahto
Hindustan Times
Indian Mujahideen

Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Bhatkal in Karnataka … and now will Sitiyo in Jharkhand, practically in Ranchi's backyard, be known as the new address of Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror?

Investigators probing Sunday's blast in Patna say all four suspects -- Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari, Mohammad Tarique Ansari, Mohammed Toufiqe Ansari and Mohmmad Noman -- belong to a village that lies just over 2km from Ranchi. And it was here the conspiracy to attack Patna was hatched.

The group's boss is alleged IM operative Mohammad Tahseen Akhtar, a resident of Bihar and an aide of IM leader Yasin Bhatkal. Akhtar gave the suspects lessons in making improvised explosive devices (IED).

The arrest of Imtiaz in Patna on Sunday provided the key break. In the evening, his house in Sitiyo was raided.

"We found electric fuses, wires, a handbook on making pressure cooker bombs, JIhadi literature and a photo of Osama bin Laden," said additional director general of police SN Pradhan.

Experts are working on a pen drive and some CDs that were found in the house as well.

The arrest of Imtiaz also led to the detention of Toufiqe, Tarique and Noman. Police claim all of them are in the age group between 21-25 years. Imtiaz is an uncle of Toufiqe's, who died in Patna on Monday morning.

Akhtar had been frequenting Ranchi and had met Imtiaz a couple of months ago, said additional director general of police SN Pradhan.

Eight unidentified people supported the IM module in their execution of the Patna plan, said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

Jharkhand's vulnerability as a potential terror centre was first established in 2002. Two Pakistani terrorists - Zahid and Salim -- who were allegedly involved in the Kolkata American Centre attack -- were gunned down in Khirgaon village of Hazaribagh district.

Later, the state was found to have a link with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) too. In 2011, SIMI's Madhya Pradesh chief Abu Faizal was arrested from a house in Jamshedpur.

In 2012, police arrested a Kashmiri youth from Hazaribagh's Palwal area, who was allegedly planning attacks in Delhi.

In March 2013, one Manzar Imam was arrested in Ranchi in connection with the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts.

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