Mangaluru/ Mysuru, Nov 20: The Karnataka police today conducted searches at the house of a youth who suffered severe injuries in a blast in a moving auto rickshaw in Mangaluru last night. The injured, who is also the prime suspect in the blast case, was reportedly staying in Mysuru.
According to the police, the accused took the one-room accommodation on rent last month. He had told the house owner that he was in the city for "mobile repair training".
Preliminary investigation indicates Mohammed Shariq, 24, hailing from Teerthahalli he has terror links. He had previously been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for graffiti on walls in Mangaluru. He was out on bail in the case. He was also absconding in a terror case and was wanted by the police.
Police have verified his photos in their records and his family has also identified the injured person in the hospital as Mohammed Shariq, via a phone, and are on their way to the hospital, a senior police official said.
Shivamogga stabbing case
Probing a stabbing incident in Shivamogga around Independence Day over putting up a photo of V. D. Savarkar, Shivamogga Rural Police had busted an alleged terror module with alleged links to Islamic State. Police had arrested Maaz Muneer Ahmed, 22 and Syed Yasin, 21 and recovered explosive materials from the duo.
Investigations had uncovered that they were radicalised by Mohammed Shariq and they had learnt making bombs through PDF files, videos and several materials sent to them by Shariq. The duo had prepared an IED and tested it successfully on the banks of Tungabhadra, police had alleged. However, Shariq had fled from his residence and had been absconding till date.
Mohammed Shariq and Maaz Ahmed were earlier arrested by Mangaluru City Police in 2020 over graffiti they wrote on the walls of two buildings in the coastal city, in support of Lashakr-e-Taiba and Taliban, and were later released on bail. Maaz Ahmed was again busted in the terror module case in Sepetmber 2022, even as Shariq the prime accused in the case was at large.
Links to Al Hind IS module
Mohammed Shariq is said to be associated with Matheen Ahmed Taha, also hailing from Shivamogga and a member of Al Hind IS module, active in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Bengaluru-based Al Hind IS module was allegedly put together by Mehboob Pasha, a resident of Gurappana Palya, Bengaluru and Khaja Moideen, a resident of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, accused in several murder cases of Hindutva leaders in the neighbouring state.
The module was busted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2020 and chargesheets filed in 2021, alleging the group wanted to establish an IS province inside the jungles of South India. However, Matheen Ahmed Taha, a prominent member of this group, is still at large and Mohammed Shariq is suspected to be his associate.
The blast occurred on Saturday evening inside an autorickshaw, near a police station, leaving the passenger and the driver injured. Both have been admitted to the hospital. The police said inside the vehicle, they found a burnt pressure cooker fitted with batteries, which Shareeq was apparently carrying. The pressure cooker, the police said, was a low-intensity Improvised Explosive device or IED.
‘Not well enough to give a statement’
This morning, the police confirmed that it was "an act of terror with intention to cause serious damage". The Karnataka police are investigating it along with central agencies.
The police said Shareeq is not well enough to give a statement. The auto driver, who was also injured, is in the hospital.
Shareeq was also carrying an Aadhaar card which did not belong to him, the police said. The owner of the card has been located. Premraj Hutagi, a resident of Karnataka's Hubballi district, has said he had lost the card and had acquired a duplicate.
Citing the "stolen" Aadhaar card, the police said it gives them a "fair idea that he was planning to target something, but we don't know what". "We are not ruling out his having a connection with the recent Coimbatore blast," said state police chief Praveen Sood.