Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu has maintained that it was a car LPG gas explosion not to incur the wrath of minority Muslims. But months after the cylinder bomb blasts in Coimbatore and Mangalore, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) terror organisation has owed responsibility for both acts.
On February 15, NIA raided 40 locations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka in connection with the blasts in Coimbatore and Mangaluru in October and November last year. Now the ISKP owned the responsibility. ISKP, a terrorist organisation designated by the United Nations (UN), made the claims in the latest issue of its propaganda magazine ‘Voice of Khurasan’ released on March 5. In the same issue, the organisation also called out to its “operatives” in Southern India to wage war against Hindus and the country’s ruling BJP.
The article reads, “Do you not consider our attacks in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, in Bangalore [the author of the magazine wrote Bangalore instead of Mangaluru], where our brothers took revenge for the honour of our religion and terrorised kufar [non-Muslims and disbelievers] and its followers?”.
During the peak hours of the day before Diwali in 2022, Jamesha Mubeen, a 29-year-old, was killed when a car carrying LPG cylinders exploded near the Kottai Easwaran temple in Coimbatore.
Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai suspected this was an act of terror. He called it an intelligence failure and was vocal about the laxity in the DMK Government’s approach to the case, which was trivialised as a mere ‘gas cylinder blast’. Both the Government and the police maintained it was a car cylinder explosion. But when the material collected from the site proved otherwise. There were attempts to pass it as an ordinary explosion.
The Mangaluru blast occurred in an auto-rickshaw when the main suspect Mohammad Shariq was planning to put it in a public place. Shariq had received injuries in the blast. NIA has already arrested several ISIS suspects concerning the October 23, 2022, car bomb blast at Coimbatore and the November 19 blast in an auto-rickshaw at Mangaluru.
ISKP’s Al-Azaim Media Foundation released the 68-page issue of the magazine on March 4.
“Do you not consider our attacks in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka (Bangalore) where our brothers took revenge…,” the magazine read. Though the magazine named Banglaore instead of Mangaluru while referring to the second attack, it was unclear whether it was deliberate or a typing error.
The NIA investigation revealed that the blast was meant to be a terror attack. In its statement, the NIA said, “According to preliminary investigations, the accused Jamesha Mubeen, after taking bayath / oath to ISIS was planning to carry out suicidal attacks and cause extensive damage to symbols and monuments of a particular religious’ faith and to strike terror among a particular section of a community.” It was also found that one of the accused was linked to the 1998 CBE serial blast convicts. In this case, the NIA team has arrested Mohammed Riyas, Mohammed Nawas Ali, Sanofar Ali, Mohammed Thoufeek, Mohammed Thalia, and Syed Hidayathullah.
The NIA investigation and the present statement by IS Khorasan have vindicated the fact that the blast was indeed a terror act.