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Bangalore terror plot: How far does the web go?

As police unravel more about the terror plot in Bangalore, there are allegations of a terror plot that stretches to training camps in Pakistan and involved the targetting of Hindu group leaders, MPs, a media outlet owner and two journalists.

Two of the 18 persons arrested by police in countrywide raids so far had reportedly gone to Pakistan for training in December 2011 and reportedly reached there by travelling through Iran, the Indian Express reported.

Abdul Hakeem Jamadar and Dr Zafar Iqbal Sholapur, who are presently in police custody, had gone for training in terror activities and were among the first to be held by the Karnataka police, the report stated.

Are the theories going to be backed up by fact. Reuters

However, the police which has been largely tightlipped about investigations in the case has already cautioned the media against speculating too much in the case.

"The issue concerns national security, is also communally sensitive and should not vitiate law and order. I request the media to be more responsible and cooperate with police," Bangalore Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji told reporters.

The commissioner's caution comes after daily leaks of information about the group that has been arrested and includes a journalist, a DRDO employee, a doctor and others.

Among the allegations made include that the handlers of the group were Indians based in Saudi Arabia, much like 26/11 handler Abu Jundal alias Zabiuddin Ansari and alleged Indian Mujahideen terror suspect Fasih Mahmood. The handlers in turn were reportedly the links with organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami, and by default the Inter Services Intelligence.

"We have found that handlers of those arrested in Karnataka are based in Saudi Arabia. Most of these handlers are Indians and they are in regular touch with ISI operatives," police sources were quoted as saying in another report.

While the police has accused the group of being a terror group that was planning assassinations, they are largely said to have been the set of people given the task of recruiting and gathering information about targets.

The police has also recovered only one weapon from them, an imported pistol, and the other evidence collected so far is largely electronic, like computers and hard disks, on which material meant for spreading propaganda and how to carry out terror activities was stored.

A joint team of central security agencies comprising officials of Intelligence Bureau and RAW conducting a probe have also claimed that during questioning the acccused were apparently indoctrinated to join the terror module by various inflammatory speeches uploaded on Internet and writings in the magazine of the sleeper cell of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

The arrested persons have spoken extensively about an online magazine, that is reportedly linked to al-Qaeda and published from somewhere in Yemen where articles relate towards drawing youth to an "armed war" against Americans, India, Israel and other Western countries who have allied with the US in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately as always with most terror plots busted in India, most of this is speculative in nature for now, given none of the material has been submitted before a court of law. The families of those arrested have already protested the arrests and claimed that those arrested are innocent.

However, only further investigations and evidence placed before courts will say how many of them were actually part of a terror plot and how many were merely misguided individuals at the wrong place at the wrong times.

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