PATNA: The arrest of two suspected terrorists in Patna three days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign events in Gaya and Jamui on April 2 has revived memories of the 2013 attack on his Lok Sabha poll rally in Gandhi Maidan and sent the police scurrying to increase the security cover to prevent a repeat.
The two suspects, Khairul Mandal and Abu Sultan, are said to have confessed to being members of Jamiat-ul-Mujahedin and the Islamic State of Bangladesh—both banned in Bangladesh—and had Buddhist targets in mind. The Anti-Terrorism Squad of Bihar Police had arrested them on Sunday.
“We have reasons to believe that they could be connected to the remnants of the module which attacked the Bodh Gaya-based Unesco-recognised Mahabodhi site on July 7, 2013, with ten explosions, which injured five persons. The Indian Mujahideen group had hit the place with sleeper cells traced to Jharkhand,” said a top official.
He said the arrests close to the PM’s visit could not have been accidental, a point which is being probed, with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) involved in the probe.
Police say incriminating documents supportive of ISIS were found along with papers connected to other terrorist organisations, besides literature on the Pulwama strike.
The NIA had arrested top JMB terrorists for involvement in the Bodh Gaya blasts from West Bengal. The attack on Modi’s rally occured on October 27 the same year.