A pen drive found at the site of a bomb blast at a court complex in Malappuram in Kerala on November 1 has the same content as a pen drive that was found at the scene of a September 12 blast in a court complex at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.
The pen drive found in Nellore contained a letter warning of more blasts by a group called Base Movement. It also contained images of Vikhar Ahmed, an undertrial SIMI activist killed in an “encounter” by AP police on April 7, 2015; Yakub Memon, the 1993 Mumbai blast accused who was hanged on July 30 last year; Afzal Guru, the Parliament attack accused who was hanged in February 2013; Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched in Dadri on September 28, 2015; and Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was killed in Kashmir in June 2016.
The message from Base Movement stated that the court blasts were being carried out to avenge the deaths of the persons whose images were in the drive.
“The pen drives found at the scene of the Nellore blast in September and the Mallapuram blast on Tuesday have the same content,’’ a source familiar with investigations in both cases said.
Reports from Kerala quoting police sources have said that the pen drives contained images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other political leaders.
A series of five blasts took place across five courts in south India since April 7 this year. The blasts have been linked to a group called Base Movement — a probable offshoot of the banned Al Ummah outfit from Tamil Nadu — and other smaller regional outfits in south India.
The first blast occurred at a district court complex in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh on April 7, 2016, the second at Kollam in Kerala on June 15, the third at Mysuru on August 1, the fourth at Nellore on September 12 and the latest on November 1 at Malapurram. The bombs — fairly sophisticated in their construction —- were placed at parking lots, outer periphery walls and a toilet in the courts, hence they did not cause serious damage.
While there are several similarities in the improvised explosive devices used in each of the blasts, the perpetrators left pen drives with messages only at Nellore and Malapurram.
Investigations in the Malappuram case have so far revealed that the IED was packed in a pressure cooker, like in the Mysuru and Nellore cases. The bombs in Chittoor and Kollam were slightly different in that they were packed in aluminium tiffin box-type containers.
In a letter sent to a commercial tax office in Chittoor in April, shortly after the Chittoor blast, the group called Base Movement claimed to have carried out the blast to avenge the encounter killing on April 7, 2015, of four SIMI men by the AP Police.