Bangalore now breeding ground for terrorists

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Bangalore, Jul 25: Serial bomb blasts that hit city on Friday, July 25, marks a change in the way of intelligence agencies view Bangalore on the terror circuit. This the second such incident in state since 2000.

The city had witnessed the major terrorist attack in December 2005 when Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives opened fire at a group of scientists at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, killing a Delhi-based scientist and injuring five others. For several years now, Bangalore had been seen as the ideal shelter-point for terrorists and underworld operators.

Since June this year, the state police have arrested over a dozen terror suspects, accused to be the members of banned SIMI and LeT outfits. Bangalore will now be seen as a breeding ground for foot-soldiers of terror networks that have roots in the middle-east," says a police officer

If the late 1970s and mid-80s saw smugglers making the city their temporary homes, the 1990s witnessed Mumbai underworld operators, Andhra Naxals and Tamil extremists taking refuge here.

Since 2000, there has been a rise in Islamist terror. The reasons are obvious — 9/11 attacks, Iraq war, local communal riots, and increased movement of students to foreign countries.

In fact, the first shot was fired when activists of Deendar Anjuman sect triggered bomb blasts in churches in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli in 2002. True, the police managed to arrest 26 activists and traced the origin of the terror strike to Pakistan, but the undercurrents in favour of terrorism only grew stronger.

Covert operations carried out by intelligence agencies in cyber cafes in some minority pockets of Bangalore in 2005, threw up more interesting facts. What the undercover sleuths did was randomly click on the surfing history on computer terminals.

Apart from porn, the most used key words were 'Laden,' 'Taliban,' 'Saddam' and 'Jihad.' The cafes are located in areas where the education level is either poor or next to non-existent. In some areas, cyber cafes were used to download videos of killings by armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. While some came out in the form of VCDs, a few videos made rounds in the form of mobile phone MMS. "

In the meantime, militant infiltration into the state saw a rise. Militants who were being hunted in Kashmir found a home in not just Bangalore and Mysore, but also in towns like Gulbarga, Chintamani and Mulbagal. As Bangalore's IT sector continued to strike big, intelligence inputs indicated that the city was high on the hit-list of terrorists.

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