New Delhi, April 14: In the summer of 2010, the chief of the Indian Mujahideen, Yasin Bhatkal made a phone call to his boss Riyaz in Karachi. During the conversation, Riyaz asked Yasin where he had sourced the explosives for the 2008 Gujarat blasts from. The reply was from Kerala.
For the Indian Mujahideen sourcing explosives was no difficult job. They managed to source explosives with much ease and use it as will in the series of blasts that they had undertaken.
All the blasts carried out by the Indian Mujahideen had a link to either coastal Karnataka or Kerala. This conversation between the two becomes important in the wake of discussions that the state of Kerala has not exactly had a proud moment when it comes to explosives control.
Easy access to explosives:
A report by the Intelligence Bureau states that there is no proper explosive control in Kerala. The quarries which source most of the explosives tend to overstock and there have been instances of the same being sold off illegally.
In most of the cases the quarry owners are not even aware of whom they are selling the explosives to.
In all the cases relating to the Indian Mujahideen probed by multiple agencies it has been found that the explosives were sourced from a quarry. There is no control and police and other officials say that the situation is extremely difficult to monitor.
While stating that it is difficult to monitor such a situation is not the exact answer one would want to hear, it becomes extremely important to regulate the flow of explosives into these quarries. Ammonium Nitrate was the favourite mix for the Indian Mujahideen while preparing bombs. All the ammonium nitrate was sourced from quarries and in the absence of checks and balances this racket continued unabated.
While in some cases, explosives have been purchased from quarries there are instances of robbery as well. Take the case of T Nasir, an accused in the Bengaluru blasts of 2008. He had confessed to stealing 20 kilograms of ammonium nitrate from a godown in Perumbavoor in Kerala. He also said that he had stolen other blasting equipment such as fuse coils from the same go-down.
Complaints not lodged:
In most cases of theft, the go down or quarry owners do not lodge a complaint with the police. Almost all quarry owners tend to stock up more than the permissible limit of explosives and other material. Lodging a complaint would mean exposing themselves and hence they tend to remain quiet.
The police say that this is the crux of the problem. The entire mechanism works on an illegal structure. Hence it has become a free for all market and the job of the police has become tougher.