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Coimbatore car blast: Was there a plot to attack religious places in Tamil Nadu like Easter bombings in Sri Lanka?

Screenshot of dead suspect's WhatsApp status reveals he was aware of his death

cbeblast.screengrab A screengrab of CCTV footage showing suspects carrying a gunny bag from house of dead suspect

The 28-year-old man from Coimbatore who was killed in the recent car blast in the city was a radicalised ISIS man and had plans to execute explosive attacks in a few religious sites in Coimbatore. The screenshot of the WhatsApp status of the deceased suspect A.Jameesha Mubin, accessed exclusively by THE WEEK, reveals that Mubin knew he was going to die. 

The WhatsApp status also indicated that Mubin knew that he was committing mistakes and did not want people around him to remember his failures and shortcomings. The screenshot, written in Tamil and designed like a poster reads, “If the news of my death reaches you, forgive my mistakes. Hide my shortcomings. Participate in my Janasa. Pray for me.” 

In Tamil it reads - “Yen marana seythi ungalai adainthal
Yen thavarugalai manniyungal
Yen kuraigalai maraiththu vidungal
Yen janasaavil kalandhu kollungal
Yenakaga prarthanai seiiyungal.”


The Whatsapp status of Mubin has led the agencies to investigate a terror plot angle and whether there were plans to execute explosions at Koniyamman and Kottai Easwaran Temples in Coimbatore. Among the documents seized from his house was a letter, which allegedly had mentions about several landmark locations in Coimbatore including the Collector’s office, railway station, race course and Victoria hall, mentioned under the head, “The tourist places to be visited,” say sources. The investigation is also carried out based on the documents seized from his house.

On Monday, the police arrested five people in connection with the blast-Mohammad Thalka (25), Mohammad Asarudheen (25) of Ukkadam; Mohammad Riyaz (27), Feroz Ismail (27) and Mohammad Navaz Ismail (27) of GM Nagar in Coimbatore. Thalka is reportedly the nephew of banned terrorist organisation Al Ummah chief S.A. Basha, who was involved in the 1998 Coimbatore bomb blasts.

All five arrested, according to the police, were involved with Mubin in moving a huge gunny bag into the car which exploded. “Two LPG cylinders and three drums. We have sent (samples) to the forensic department to find out what was there in the drum. They carried the explosive materials from Mubin’s house, knowing what it is. Around 75 kilos of Charcoal, potassium nitrate, aluminium powder and sulphur were there. We have seized the materials and a report has been submitted to the court,” V.Balakrishnan, Coimbatore City Police Commissioner said. 

All five were arrested based on the CCTV footage recovered near Mubin’s house. They were carrying a gunny bag from Mubin’s house into the car, as seen in the CCTV footage. The stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has also been invoked on the five arrested and are being interrogated, according to the police. 

“We are investigating. Some of the arrested suspects have visited Kerala to meet their accomplices like Mohammed Azharuddin in prison. We will know all this after the investigation. UAPA Act has been invoked. The forensic investigation regarding whatever was there inside the LPG cylinder that exploded is also being done. NIA had conducted an enquiry on a few of those involved in this blast and we have been probing their activities after that. We are looking at all the CCTV footage in and around the scene of crime. A huge volume of CCTV footage has been collected and it is being investigated,” V.Balakrishnan said. 

However, the car blast, the arrests, the investigation and the fact that the DGP had rushed to the spot, travelling 600 kilometres from Chennai, along with top officials indicates that the blast has shaken the administration. It proved that situation was volatile. 

The alacrity with which the government reacted has surprised the observers. It was further strengthened by the statement of DGP after visiting the spot wherein he said the explosive materials in the car would have been meant for further planning. The DGP’s statement indirectly admits and almost borders that it was indeed not just an accident, but there was a terror plot. “We are looking into every possibility because the materials taken from his home may have been meant for a future plan,” Sylendra Babu told during a press conference on Monday. 

Also, the explosives carried in the gunny bag were similar to the materials used by Zahran Hassim in the Easter bomb attacks in Sri Lanka in 2019. Also, Mubin tried to execute an explosion a few years ago and it was thwarted by Tamil Nadu police. He was then picked up by the NIA in 2019 for his ties with the radical network associated with Zahran Hassim and for his alleged close links with ISIS. 

The NIA investigated him after he was found to be attending Bayan classes at a mosque in Coimbatore, run by Tamil Nadu Thowheeth Jamath (TNTJ). These classes were closely linked to Mohammed Azharuddin, who is in a prison in Kerala for his links in an IS case. Sources also say that Mubin was an associate of Azharuddin and the former visited the latter in prison along with one of the five arrested. Azharuddin was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hasim, the mastermind of the Sri Lanka bombings. 

Refuting the intelligence information, TNTJ general secretary R. Abdul Kareem told THE WEEK that Mubin was not in anyway connected to the organisation and that their Bayan classes preach only humanity and not enmity.  "The Bayans conducted in TNTJ are not promoting any such wrongful activities. There is no relationship between Mubin and TNTJ.  This is completely baseless. Neither Mubin was known to attend the Bayan classes in TNTJ's Coimbatore masjid, nor do our Bayans promote enmity and violence. TNTJ has been preaching the Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad in all its sermons (Bayans) which is totally opposite to the way it is portrayed. Sermons are preaching about humanity, fraternity, self discipline and welfare of others, which are the core concept of Islam and will never lead to any terrorist acts. These sermons are conducted openly for the public, and are not like the secret meetings conducted by the RSS ," says Kareem.

Meanwhile, six special teams are working in Coimbatore to probe the reasons behind the car blast, to know more about Mubin, if anyone else visited his home in the recent past, his phone call records and his social media activities. Also, senior officials of NIA are camping in Coimbatore and investigating parallelly with Tamil Nadu. 

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