Mangaluru: On November 19, 2022, an auto-rickshaw exploded in City at around 4.00 pm in which an auto rickshaw driver and a passenger were seriously injured. The very next day, DGP Praveen Sood had tweeted that it was an act of terrorism and a probe would be conducted accordingly.
The NIA too wasted no time in taking up the investigation of the sensational case. During investigation, it came to light that identity cards, primarily the Aadhaar card of a passenger named Premraj, were forged and stolen.
Auto driver Purushottam Poojary, in his statement to the Police, clearly stated that the passenger was carrying a heavy object and it was a pressure cooker bomb containing objects such as nails, metal pieces, Duracell pen light batteries, etc. Police investigations revealed that Sharique was involved in the Shivamogga blast in September. The NIA is also investigating the blast.
On further interrogation, it was learnt that Sharique was a resident of Sopugudde in Shivamogga District. He was a highly fundamentalist person who had publicly stated that he wanted to set up a Caliphate in India.
In February 2020, the walls of Shivamogga were covered with objectionable slogans supporting ISIS and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Sharique was arrested as an accused in the case but his father managed to get him released on bail.
Sharique secretly got access to Hindu temples and prepares elaborate maps focusing on the entrance, exit and the sanctum sanctorum. With the help of his associates, he gained considerable proficiency in the manufacture of IEDs. Moreover, he has also been assigned the role of recruiting terrorists and mobilising funds for them. Sharique was reportedly in close contact with Arafat Ali, another accused in the September Shivamogga blasts. They are also Mateen’s neighbours.
Police have busted a gang of five militants who were living nearby, about 60 kms from the main District headquarters of Shivamogga.
The boldness of organising a three-wheeler explosion, which was capable of detonating a full-size bus, is showing poor compliance and surveillance mechanism. All these accused had to be held tight. Today’s technology allows law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on repeat offenders like Sharique. It is a classic case of Sharique’s fundamentalism fuelled by deadly elements like Zakir Naik. It is beyond the purview of the Police to deal with this hydra-headed menace on its own. It is essential for the Government and society to take all stakeholders into confidence and formulate a viable action plan.