THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) Tuesday arrested two more alleged members of an outfit called ‘Base Movement’, which is suspected to be behind a series of blasts in court complexes across South India.
On Monday, the agency had arrested three suspected Base Movement members.
According to an officer privy to details of the interrogation, the accused have revealed that they were incensed at the treatment meted out to the minority community, and the attitude of the government and agencies towards the minorities. “They seem to be particularly incensed by the treatment meted out to Muslims in jails. We do not know where and how they have picked up that impression,” the officer said.
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“Two members of the group, it appears, were radicalised online. But as of now there is no indication that they have a handler, or have links with any other organisation,” the NIA officer said.
The two arrested on Tuesday were identified as Shamsudeen (25) and Mohammed Ayub Ali (25) — both from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Ayub had been picked up Monday and was being questioned. He was put under arrest today.
Abbas Ali (27), Suleiman Abdullah (23) and Samsun Karim Raja were arrested on Monday.
According to an NIA officer, Abbas Ali had formed the group early last year. “Abbas Ali and another member had been radicalised online. Abbas knew the others and got them together…. He gave the group its name as well,” the officer said.
Their first activity, according to the officer, was sending threat letters to officers of various jails, including Director General of prisons, Tamil Nadu.
Shamsudeen, allegedly the only Base Movement member with a prior criminal record, first learnt to make bombs from members a local gang in Madurai. “He was followed by Abbas Ali – those two only can assemble bombs in the group. They said they made the first bomb in early 2015,” said another officer privy to probe details.
While Base Movement is suspected to have set off blasts in court complexes in Karnataka, Andhra and Kerala, its members “left out Tamil Nadu since they lived there, and did not want focus (of law enforcement agencies) to be on the state,” the officer said.
The Base Movement is linked to blasts at court complexes in Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) on April 7, Kollam (Kerala) on June 15, Mysuru (Karnataka) on August 1, Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) on September 12, and Malappuram (Kerala) on November 2. All five were low-intensity blasts and similar messages were left at the blast sites. The NIA is investigating the Mysuru blast.