Coimbatore -Pre Blast; Blast; Post Blast

via HARAN.B.R published on August 9, 2007

The Beginning: –   

                        Islamic fundamentalism in independent India took roots in Muslim pockets of India with Clandestine infiltration of the Pakistan based terrorists supported by ISI. The continuous terror attacks in the Kashmir valley, in the name of freedom fight, served as fuel for the rise in Islamic fanaticism. The demolition of Babri structure in Dec 1992 and the consequent Mumbai riots followed by the serial blasts in 1993 created an obvious division on religious grounds. Since then, Islamic militants with the connivance of local outfits have perpetrated repeated terror attacks on Indian soil. The Student Islamic movement of India. (SIMI) became very active fanned by the clerics and trained by the ISI. They spread to all corners of the country and clandestinely operated in different cities, in different names. In Tamil Nadu it took the name of “Al-Umma” and “Jihad Committee”.


 Pre-Blast : “Al Umma” made its first major strike at the RSS head quarters in Chennai in Nov 1993 – killing 11 people- in the name of retaliation for Babri demolition. The Tamil Nadu police arrested S.A. Basha and 15 others under TADA at Coimbatore. That one incident was enough for the then AIADMK government to act tough on terrorist outfits and the TN police brought the volatile situation under control. ‘Kottamedu’ in Coimbatore was the most notorious place where Islamic terrorism was reared and the police set up 5 check posts in Kottamedu, and other Muslim pockets of the city.


In the meantime, TamilNadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) was launched in 1995 with a political colour to be deliberately different from Al-Umma, which was seen as a violent outfit. But most of the Muslim youth were allegedly members in both the outfits and the TMMK was allegedly started to give a political colour to Islamic fundamentalism. During April 1996 election, the DMK candidates M.Thandapani (MP) and Ramanathan (MLA) promised the Muslim community that the check posts in their areas would be removed provided if they were voted to power. Even before announcing the victory of DMK, Muslim youth demolished the check posts and two constables were even stabbed in the melee. By the end of 1996 a Coimbatore prison official Boopalan was also murdered by Muslim militants.


With the advent of the DMK government, the “Al-Umma” and “Jihad Committee” indulged in clandestine operations. The organizations like “Hindu Makkal katchi” were forced to retaliate, resulting in frequent stabbings and attacks. The “Al Umma” men (16 including their chief Basha) who were arrested for RSS office attack were released on Bail in January 1997. On February 8 1997, a powerful blast occurred in the premises of Mohammadiya rice mill at Saliyamangalam near Thanjavur and the police seized a huge quantity of gelatin sticks, sulphur, ammonium nitrate, nitric acid, sulphuric acid, detonators and pistols from the premises of the mill. Again on 10th February 1997 the Chennai city police seized around 1000 detonators packed in cardboard boxes from one Amanulla, who had come to Chennai from Coimbatore. On the same day in Tambaram, a suburb of Chennai, a cyclist was arrested with detonators and clocks with wires. On the 11th of March 1997, the Chennai city police seized a huge cache of arms, explosives, detonators, pipes & wires etc, from a place called Kodungaiyur, and arrested two “Al-Umma” men one of them being Basha’s brother Mohammed Khan. On 29th of November 1997 in Coimbatore city, traffic constable by name Selvaraj was murdered by three “Al-Umma” men in broad daylight and in the subsequent combing operation by the police, 17 Muslims lost their lives in firing. Since then Coimbatore city was always under threat of violence and state intelligence provided the government with confirmed information on the imminent terror attacks. As evidence to the intelligence reports huge cache or arms and explosives were seized from different places, particularly in Chennai & Coimbatore. On the 6th December 1997, bombs went in three different trains leaving Chennai Central Station, planted by “Islmamic Defense Force” of Kerala, in which nine people were killed and over 70 injured. This “Islamic Defense Force” has common ideologies with “Al Umma” and they have developed network, communication and exchange of arms, as they have been situated on the border of areas of Tamil Nadu & Kerala, the land of Abdul Nassar Madhani, President, People’s Democratic Party.


Blasts: The State Intelligence had informed the government on 31st of January 1998 and again on 12th or February 1998 (as per media reports) about a possible terror attack during the visit of BJP leader Shri. L.K. Adwani. Despite the intelligence reports, the state government failed to act, or rather, preferred not to act, in time, probably with an eye on vote banks and other electoral factors. On Saturday the 14th of February 1998 between 3.50pm and 4.30pm, 13 bombs exploded in 11 different places killing 45 people including 10 women and one child. Ten more persons were killed in the next few days, taking the total official tally to 59 Casualties and over 200 maimed. The unofficial casualty figure was believed to be around 150 to 200. On 15th Feb, Six “Al-Umma” cadres died following a police raid on their hideout and again on 17ths Feb, four men died following an accidental blast in their hideout in Al-Ameen colony. As far as the serial blasts are concerned, the bombs were placed in bullock carts, fruit carts, two wheelers, bicycle boxes, containers, etc along the route from Airport to meeting venue and near the railway station. The Army, police and NSG diffused several bombs, which failed to detonate. A car laden with 70 Kg of explosives was found abandoned in Lokamanya Tilak Street, R.S.Puram, just behind the famous Annapoorna Hotel and it took 4 days of meticulous operation to dismantle the device.


 On the same day of the blast, the state government banned “Al-Umma” and “Jihad Committee”, a move that came under severe criticism by the people as “Worshipping Sun God after becoming blind”. In the consequent combing operation in Coimbatore city, police seized large quantities or gelatin sticks, petrol bombs, pipe bombs, detonators, knives, swords, pick axes and sickles, apart from batteries, wires etc. “Al-Umma” leader S.A. Basha with 12 accomplices and hundred odd cadres belonging to the “Al-Umma”, “TMMK” and “Jihad Committee” were arrested and lodged in Coimbatore Central prison. The People’s Democratic Party (formerly known as Islmaic Seva Sangh) leader Abdul Nassar Madhani from Kerala was also arrested and lodged in Coimbatore prison. The then Left Front government led by E.K. Nayanar handed him over to Tamil Nadu police.


Post-Blast: First Information reports were lodged and cases were registered in the respective police stations and then transferred to CB-CID. The preliminary charge sheets were filed on 28th September 1998 and the final charge sheets were filed on 5th of May 1999. Special Court for Bomb Blast cases was constituted in April 2000. Justice Gokula Krishnan who was inquiring into the communal violence and police firing between Nov-Dec 1997 submitted his reports in May 2000.


 In 2001 elections, the DMK lost and AIDMK came back to power. Charges were framed against the accused in October 2001. Examination of witness began in March 2002. In the meantime, several attempts were made to bail out Madhani, but only in vain. The Jayalalitha government took a tough stand on this case and when the then Home Secretary of Tamil Nadu Mr. Munir Hoda attempted to help for bailing out Madhani without the knowledge of the CM Jayalalitha, he was suspended for his arrogant & stupid action.


Then, when the DMK came back to power in May 2006, Munir Hoda was reinstated as the Chief minister’s Personal Secretary. The Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a shocking unprecedented resolution seeking the release of Madhani on humanitarian grounds. The Kerala Chief Minister Achuthananthan sent his ministers to Coimbatore prison to meet Madhani for the sake of giving moral support and the Chief Minister himself came and met his Tamil Nadu counterpart to secure his release in the guise of Mulla Periyar talks. Karunanidhi wisely but cautiously refused to release, but at the same time agreed to arrange for an Ayurvedic Spa inside the prison exclusively for Madhani.


The arguments in the case started in June 2006 and got completed in April 2007, examining 1300 witnesses out of 2345. Even before the arguments started, organizations like TMMK, DK. (Dravidar Kazhagam) MNP (Maritha Neethi Paasarai) VSK (Viduthalai Siruthai Katchi) put pressure on CM Karunanidhi and demanded bail for the 100 and odd prisoners. The pressure forced the prosecution to conduct the arguments in a haphazard, half-baked and halfhearted manner. Finally on the 1st of August 2007, Justice Uthirapathy pronounced the verdict. Abdul Nassar Madhani was acquitted for want or Damming evidences, to the shock of blast victims and all the right thinking people. Basha, Ansari and 158 others were found guilty while seven others were acquitted along with Madhani. The sentences are expected to be given from 6th August onwards and 84 prisoners who were found guilty on non-serious charges were also expected to get bail.


Abdul Nassar Madhani, who had been acquitted & released, was given a Hero’s welcome in Thiruvananthapuram. Both the UDF & the LDF have vied with each other to take credit for his acquittal. While the Communists, being the ruling dispensation, could join the festivities at the felicitation function, Congressmen could not join, as they are the opposition. Madhani also assured his support for the LDF government for the time being. As the Kerala politicians were shamelessly painting him as a Good Samaritan, Madhani was trying to project himself with a new & moderate image. He claimed that he had never been a terrorist (!) and his future plan is to work for the welfare of Dalits & Muslims. He had clarified that he would not sue the TN government for detaining him in the prisons for nine long years, but warned that he would take up the case again if Tamil Nadu goes for an appeal.


When their Kerala counterparts are going berserk on Madhani’s release, the Communists & the Congressmen of Tamil Nadu are maintaining a deadly silence on the court verdict in general and Madhani’s release in particular. The other political parties including the DMK, which flaunt their love for “Tamil” people in the name of “Tamil”, have not reacted at all on the court verdict. Even the AIADMK, which did well in crushing Islamic terrorism & refusing to be lenient on Madhani when in power, was conspicuous by its silence on the verdict. None of the ‘Tamil’ political leaders has come out with a clear statement on the verdict on Coimbatore blasts to the dismay & disappointment of the Tamils.


The 1998 serial blasts have taken the lives of 59 innocent “Tamils” and maimed over 200 innocent “Tamils” for life. The families of the victims have been suffering in silence. Abdul Nassar Madhani, the ‘kingpin’ of the conspiracy & crime has been acquitted and all the shameless “Tamil” politicians, who brazenly claim to work for the welfare of “Tamils” and serve the cause of “Tamil”, are simply keeping quiet, just for the sake of Muslim votes! The BJP is the only party, which is making the right noises and unfortunately it doesn’t have a presence at all in the state. Worse is the statement of “Tamil” Nationalist Party leader Pazha Nedumaran, who has demanded compensation for terrorist Madhani. What a love for “Tamils”!


At least now, the Tamils must understand the brazen double standards and the dubious intentions of the “Tamil” politicians and realize that they have been cheated and taken for a solid ride for the last forty years by the Dravidian rulers by keeping them ‘backward’ perennially through ‘quotas’ & ‘freebies’. The people of Tamil Nadu must understand that, more than the ‘Tamil’ cause, it is the ‘Minority’ cause, which the “Tamil” politicians are bothered about.


In this kind of a scenario, if the Tamils expect that their “Tamil” Chief minister would opt for an appeal against the acquittal of Madhani, then they are quite wrong. Karunanidhi being a shrewd politician, knows pretty well that the people have the habit of forgetting things and that he can always fool them with freebies and quotas in the name of social welfare and social justice. He is also aware of the fact that no other party is there in the state to cash in on the Coimbatore blasts and that no other party would demand the state government to go for an appeal, except the BJP, which is not a force to reckon with in Tamil Nadu.


But, what about the great Basha and others? The ‘minority’ loving Chief Minister cannot afford to detain Basha and his accomplices for many more years in prison. It doesn’t matter, the law can always take its ‘course’ and higher courts are also there. As all culprits cannot be acquitted in one go, loose arguments can be managed further at the higher courts to effect the acquittal of Basha & Co or their sentences could be reduced and by that time, the people would forget the past.


Cheers to Dravidianism, Minorityism and Secularism! May Tamils be doomed!



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