Four Islamic fundamentalists nabbed in Tamil Nadu (Lead)

July 28th, 2008 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 28 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu police arrested four alleged Islamic fundamentalists Monday, a day after they picked up one person, and recovered from them explosive devices and bomb making components. The men are believed to have provided logistical support to those behind the terror bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The four men had also hatched a plot to set off at least 11 explosions on Independence Day, Aug 15, the police said.

An unspecified number of people have been detained on suspicion and those found harmless were being let off, police sources said on condition of anonymity.

Some civil rights activists claimed over 5,000 people have been detained without explanation, a charge officials have denied.

While three of the suspects were picked up in Chennai, the fourth was apprehended in Tirunelveli, 600 km south of here, an official press statement said.

A vast array of timers, improvised explosive devices and bomb components seized from two suspects - Sheikh Abdul Ghaffoor and Mohammad Anwar Badshah - in Tirunelveli were allegedly meant to be used in blasts in 11 places in Tamil Nadu, including in trains, temples and crowded places.

The alleged ringleader of the Islamic group that identifies itself as belonging to the so-called ‘One God’ faction, P. Ali Abdullah, is undergoing life imprisonment since 2003 in the high security Puzhal prison, 20 km from here in the city’s northern outskirts. He was also questioned after the reported confessions of the arrested suspects.

Three of the suspects were transported to Tirunelveli under police protection for questioning, top officials said.

At least eight cities, including state capital Chennai, were under heavy police protection with surprise checks conducted on suspicious vehicles.

Television channels showed armed police presence at all rail, road and air terminals, temples, mosques, cinema halls, markets and IT hubs all over the state.

Director General of Police K.P. Jain told IANS: “While we are taking no chances with virtually anything, there is no need for any alarm. All actions by the police are within the purview of the law.”

Chennai commissioner of police R. Sekar said: “This tension has accorded us an opportunity to pick up suspects wanted in several pending cases for a long time. However, we are on our toes all the time.”

Meanwhile, several journalists received personal messages on their mobiles with the senders identifying themselves as “police”, requesting that rumours should not be circulated.

“Please don’t believe rumours. Police have taken all necessary precautions for public safety. Persons circulating false rumours will be arrested,” the SMS said.

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