NIA Arrests Two Suspects in Bangalore Cafe Blast Case, Probes Pakistan Link

The NIA arrests two suspects linked to the Rameshwaram Cafe blast in Bangalore, with alleged ties to Pakistan's ISI and plans to establish an Islamic State module in South India. The investigation uncovers a complex web of terrorist activities and funding.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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NIA Arrests Two Suspects in Bangalore Cafe Blast Case, Probes Pakistan Link

NIA Arrests Two Suspects in Bangalore Cafe Blast Case, Probes Pakistan Link

National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Abdul Matheen Taha and Mussavir Hussain Shazib in Kolkata for their alleged involvement in the March 1 Rameshwaram Cafe blast in Bangalore, which injured nine people. Authorities suspect their online handler, codenamed 'Colonel' and possibly linked to Pakistan's ISI, has been indoctrinating and funding young men in south India to carry out attacks.

Shazib is suspected of placing a homemade bomb in the cafe, while Taha is believed to be the 'mastermind' behind the planning, execution, and evasion from law enforcement agencies. The NIA had earlier released photographs of the suspected bomber and offered a cash reward for information leading to his arrest. A court in Kolkata granted a 3-day transit remand to the two accused, allowing the NIA to take them to the Karnataka capital for further investigation.

The Rameshwaram Cafe is located in Bangalore, India's 'Silicon Valley,' which is home to many of the country's top information technology companies and the capital of the Congress party-ruled Karnataka state. The blast occurred during lunch hour, but none of the injuries were life-threatening, according to a state minister.

Why this matters: The arrest of the two suspects and the possible link to Pakistan's ISI raises concerns about the ongoing threat of terrorism in India and the potential for foreign actors to exploit vulnerable individuals for their own agendas. The incident also highlights the need for continued vigilance and cooperation between law enforcement agencies to prevent and respond to such attacks.

The NIA believes there may be a connection to Pakistan and is investigating whether the Colonel intends to resurrect terrorist activities by establishing small Islamic State (IS) modules. The 'Colonel' is believed to be a key figure behind recruiting several young men in South India to target religious structures, Hindu leaders, and prominent locations. The handler was sending them funding via crypto-wallets.

Investigators are also looking into the 'Colonel's' role behind the Islamic Resistance Council, which claimed responsibility for the Mangaluru auto-rickshaw blast in November 2022, and suspect these could be diversionary tactics by ISI-backed handlers to mislead authorities. Taha and Shazib were previously part of the Al-Hind module, which planned to establish an Islamic State province in the jungles of South India and target Hindu religious and political leaders, police officers, government officials, and other high-profile individuals.

The investigation is now focused on determining if 'Bhai,' an online handler mentioned in the Al-Hind case, is the same individual as 'Colonel' and if he was associated with Taha and Shazib since their Al-Hind days. The NIA has offered a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for information leading to the apprehension of the two accused. On April 13, a special NIA court granted the agency 10 days custody of Taha and Shazib for further investigation.

Key Takeaways

  • NIA arrested 2 suspects in Kolkata for Bengaluru cafe blast, linked to Pak ISI handler
  • Suspects placed homemade bomb, masterminded planning, execution, and evading authorities
  • Blast occurred in Bengaluru's 'Silicon Valley', raising concerns about terrorism threat
  • ISI-backed handler recruiting young men in South India to target religious, political leaders
  • Suspects previously part of Al-Hind module planning to establish IS province in South India