Kollam blast accused vandalise court building

District Government Pleader Sethunathan Pillai  said the Andhra Pradesh police produced the accused before Judge Snehalatha by 10.30am. 
Police trying to restrain one of the blast case accused who turned violent on the court premises in Kollam.
Police trying to restrain one of the blast case accused who turned violent on the court premises in Kollam.

KOLLAM: The Kollam Principal and Sessions Court witnessed unprecedented scenes on Monday when four accused in the 2016 Kollam collectorate blast case turned violent, raising slogans and breaking window panes of the court building on the collectorate premises.  The incident occurred while the case was being heard. According to officials, the ruckus happened around 2.45 pm despite heightened police security.

The accused — Abbas Ali, Karim Raja, Dawood Sulaiman and Shamshudeen — were brought from Kadapa Central Prison in Andhra Pradesh, where they are lodged in connection with the Chittoor court blast case. The accused are reportedly part of the Base Movement, which is an obscure outfit that owed allegiance to terror outfit Al Qaeda.

District Government Pleader Sethunathan Pillai said the Andhra Pradesh police produced the accused before Judge Snehalatha by 10.30am. 

“The initial phase of the proceedings involved the hearing and cross-examination of witnesses, which went on smoothly. Around noon, the court commenced hearing the prosecutor’s request for the accused to be presented via videoconference in the subsequent trials due to security concerns. But by around 2.45pm, during the process of documenting the court’s order, the accused got agitated and resorted to violence,” he said. “They demanded to meet the judge, and upon refusal, they resorted to violence, raising slogans and breaking window panes of court building,” he said.

Following the incident, the Kollam West police took the accused into custody. They were subsequently taken to the Kollam West police station in an Andhra Pradesh police vehicle. Charges were filed against all the accused under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. “We have taken all accused into custody. They have been shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Central Prison,” said Shafeekh B, Kollam West Station House Officer.

Four are accused of carrying out blasts at several court complexes

The explosion at the Kollam civil station took place on June 15, 2016, and the accused were arrested by the National Investigation Agency in 2017. They had used an improvised explosive device (IED) that was detonated with the help of a timer device. 

The IED was planted inside an unused jeep of the labour department that was parked near the Kollam Munsiff Court. A person sustained serious injuries in the incident. They are facing charges under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosives Act, and other pertinent sections of the IPC.

According to  Sethunathan Pillai, apart from the Kollam collectorate blast case, they are accused in the cases pertaining to blasts on court premises in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, Mysuru in Karnataka, Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, and Malappuram.

The accused, who are members of The Base Movement, don’t have any direct contact with Al Qaeda’s Indian counterpart Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).  Investigating agencies said the name of Base Movement is modelled on the English meaning of the word ‘Al Qaeda’.

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