• November 23, 2017
    Last updated 2 minutes ago

india

Terror plot uncovered in Bihar prompts temple security rethink

One of three arrested suspects is accused in 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts in which 56 people were killed

15:40 September 14, 2017

Patna: Authorities in Bihar have bolstered security for visiting Hindu devotees — as well as at temples and the prominent Buddhist shrines — after three suspected terrorists were arrested by police on Wednesday night.

All three were arrested as part of a cybercrime investigation in Gaya, some 100 kilometres south of Patna.

One of them, Taushif Ahmad Khan, is an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts in Gujarat state in which 56 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, police said on Thursday.

“This is a big achievement for us. Taushif, who we arrested, is the main accused in Ahmedabad serial blasts. The security agencies had been looking for him for the past nine years,” Bihar’s director general of police S.K. Singhal told journalists.

The senior police official said the arrested suspect had been using internet cafés to publicise the ideology of Daesh, a dreaded terrorist outfit, while staying in Gaya under a fake identity.

Police reports said Taushif, who is now being extensively quizzed by the country’s security agencies, had taken shelter in Gaya soon after the Ahmedabad blasts and was living there as a mathematics teacher.

The local villagers never suspected him until he fell into the police net.

As per reports, he had been given the responsibility to prepare a Daesh sleeper cell.

According to the police, he had also sent mail to some Indian parliamentarians.

During investigations, security agents stumbled upon many photographs of Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines in his mail, prompting police to beef up security arrangements around them.

The arrest comes at a time when the Pitripaksha Mela, the annual biggest congregation of Hindus, is underway in Gaya.

More than a million devotees descend in this town every year.

Terrorists targeted the pilgrim city of Gaya in July 2013.

At that time, they had planted bombs at several places in Bodh Gaya, including the Mahabodhi Temple.

Luckily the temple, which figures on Unesco’s World Heritage list, suffered no major damage.

This is the second major arrest of terrorists in Bihar.

Earlier in August 2013, the security agencies had arrested Yasin Bhatkal, a key conspirator in several bomb blasts and co-founder of the banned Indian Mujahideen (IM) near the Bihar-Nepal border.