Coimbatore car blast mastermind wanted to orchestrate Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings-model attack: NIA chargesheet

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Jamesha Mubeen, the mastermind of the car bomb explosion in front of Sangameswarar temple in Coimbatore on October 22 last year wanted to orchestrate an attack similar to the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, said the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against six out of the 11 accused in the case on Thursday.

The NIA said a pen drive recovered from Mubeen’s accomplice Muhammad Azharudheen contained video recordings of Mubeen, in which he had identified himself as a member of Daulat-e-Islamia or Islamic State (IS)

“He had spoken extensively on his intention to commit a suicide terror attack against the ‘kafirs’ (non-believers) and to become a martyr. Mubeen was inspired by the bayans (sermons) of Zahran Hashim, a radical Islamic cleric of Sri Lanka, who masterminded the Easter serial suicide bomb attacks in 2019, killing around 260 people. Mubeen wanted to orchestrate a similar kind of attack against the ‘kafirs’ in India”, the NIA said.

According to the agency, handwritten notes were recovered from Mubeen’s residence wherein criticism of the existing democratic system, which are not in tandem with Islamic laws, has been mentioned. There was also a mention of ‘targets’, including Government office buildings, district court, public gathering places like parks, railway station, and a few other local temples. Investigations revealed that Mubeen was inspired by IS ideology to carry out the attack. He had also taken ‘bayath’ or oath of allegiance to its self-proclaimed Caliph Abu-al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi of the IS.

The NIA said that Mubeen was aided and assisted by his associates Azharudheen, Muhammed Thalha, Firos Ismail, Muhammed Riyas, Muhammed Nawaz Ismail and Afsar Khan in arranging logistics for the car bombing. Thalha had sourced an old hatchback which was used in the explosion of vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (V-IED). Firos Ismail, Riyas and Nawaz Ismail had loaded the explosives, gas cylinders, etc. into the car, making it a potent weapon. Azharudheen and Khan, both cousins of Mubeen, had procured, weighed, mixed and packed the chemical constituents used in making of the V-IED, the NIA said.

Mubeen, 29, who lived with wife and two children around 350 metres off Sangameswarar temple, was killed after the car exploded in front of the temple, causing minimal damage to the facade of the ancient temple, around 4 a.m. on October 22. After the initial investigation launched by the police, the NIA re-registered the case on October 27, 2022 and took over the probe.

On Thursday, the agency filed chargesheet against Mohammed Azharudheen, Thalha, Firos Ismal, Riyas, Nawaz Ismail and Khan before the NIA Special Court at Poonamallee, Chennai. They have been charged for offences under Sections 34, 120B, 121A, 122, and 153A of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Explosives Substances Act and Sections 16, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

According to the NIA, Islamic State-Khorasan Province claimed responsibility for the attack in an article titled ‘A Message to the Inhabitants in the Land Occupied by Cow and Mice Worshipping Filths’ in its online magazine ‘Voice of Khurasan’. The article said that the attack was revenge to uphold the honour of their religion and to establish Allah’s ‘deen’ and his law upon his land and to terrorize the ‘kufr’ and its followers with the threat that it was just the beginning.

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