Mangaluru autorickshaw blast: Accused Shareeq 'inspired by ISIS terror outfit'
The Karnataka Police on Monday claimed a major breakthrough in the Mangaluru autorickshaw blast case, saying that the accused—Shareeq—was "inspired" by the ISIS terror outfit and used the dark web to contact his handlers, said reports. The accused worked under multiple handlers, and one of them belonged to Al-Hind—a terror group influenced by ISIS, NDTV reported quoting police officials.
Why does this story matter?
- Immediately after the explosion in an autorickshaw in Mangaluru on Saturday, the police said that it was a case of fire.
- However, Karnataka DGP Praveen Sood on Sunday confirmed that it was an "act of terror" while quoting a news article on Twitter.
- The involvement of central agencies in the investigation, in addition to the state investigators, indicates the seriousness of the situation.
"Shareeq was driven by ISIS ideology and made a bomb at his home," a police officer told NDTV. "On September 19, Shareeq, along with two other accomplices, carried out a trial blast in a forest on the banks of a river in Shivamogga," they added. The police arrested two of his accomplices on September 20, but Shareeq managed to escape at the time.
Has multiple handlers, some of them unidentified
On the accused's handlers, senior police officer Alok Kumar said, "Shareeq's immediate handler was Arafat Ali, an accused in two cases. He was in touch with Mussavir Hussain who is an accused in the Al-Hind module case." He said one Abdul Matin Taha was also among his main handlers. "Another 2-3 handlers also worked with Shareeq...they are yet to be identified," Kumar said.
The police have so far conducted searches at seven locations across Karnataka, including in Mangaluru, Mysuru, and Shivamogga, and seized several electronic devices. Shareeq's rented house in Mysuru was also raided on Sunday, from where materials used to make bombs were seized, Kumar said. "We have formed five different teams... So, we have searched seven places and seized some electronic devices," he added.
How did the incident take place?
Shareeq, a native of Shivamogga, was traveling in an autorickshaw in Mangaluru with an improvised explosive device (IED) in a pressure cooker. The IED reportedly detonated, leaving him with serious burn injuries. He is now being treated at a hospital. "Our priority is to see that he survives, we have to take him to a stage where we can question him," Kumar said.
Accused was using a fake ID
The police had said that Shareeq, who received 50% burn injuries in the explosion, was using a fake identification (ID) card that identified him as Premraj Hutagi of Hubballi. They said he had boarded the autorickshaw at Mangaluru's Naguri as it was coming from Mangalore Junction Railway Station. Moreover, the autorickshaw, as per the police, is registered in the name of one Durga Parmeshwari.
NIA joins investigation after suspicious items found
A high-level probe was ordered after suspicious material was allegedly found in the autorickshaw. The police said that they discovered suspicious explosive material inside an exploded pressure cooker that the accused was carrying. The police also said that batteries and wires were found inside the cooker. Later, the country's premier investigation agency, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), also joined the probe, said reports.