The 21st Century Phenomenon


On 07/05/2005 noon, a group of six armed men attacked the heavily guarded Shri Ram Janambhoomi Hindu shrine near the scene of the disputed Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which was used by Hindu prayers.  All six attackers and a by passer were shot dead by Indian police which suggested the police had some prior knowledge about the attack. The six were later identified as Abu Umar, Arfat, Mohammed Amin, Zubair, Arshad Ali and Arif of Pakistan.

According to the Indian intelligence the six attackers, who were speaking Sindhi or Baloch dialect, were members of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba, both organizations based in Pakistan. They entered India from Nepal, pretending to be Hindu pilgrims, and boarded two jeep cars (Tata Sumos) to a near by city – Faizadad. Although their vehicles were stopped and checked in some check points, the security did not detect the arms. (Probably the police deliberately let the group to move on since they were under surveillance).  

At Faizabad they hired a jeep driven by a driver, Rehan Alam Amsari. According to a statement by the driver, the terrorists visited the Shri Ram Mandir (Temple) at Ayodhya where they prayed, possibly to reinforce the impression that they were indeed pilgrims. Afterward the perpetrators forced the driver out of the vehicle, banging the jeep against the security cordon of the Shri Ram Janambhoomi and opened fire on the guards trying to force their way into the temple.

Rehan Alam Amsari, the jeep driver, was detained by the police immediately after the attack for further investigations. In a major breakthrough in the investigation, police busted, on 07/14/2005 night, a Lashkar-e-Toiba module behind the attack and five of its cadres from Mendhar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The arrested were identified as Farooq Ahmed, the operational ringleader of Patta Kar village working at a popular Shahdara Sharief shrine (Rajouri); Mohd Nasim of Dera Jattan village; Abdul Aziz of Patti Dara village; Shakeel Ahmed and Mushtaq Ahmed of Derrian village.  Farooq Ahmed drove one of the vehicles carrying the weapons, including five AK rifles, grenades and ammunition for the attack, while the attackers were driven in the second car by Shakeel Ahmed to Uttar Pradesh, during a four-day journey from Nepal to Ayodhya.

A sophisticated wireless set has been recovered from Farooq Ahmed, who had passed on a message to Pakistan after the Ayodhya attack on 06/05/2005 morning from the same set. The message was partially intercepted by a Central security agency.  According to the investigation Farooq Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed were paid 80,000 rupies each for providing weapons to the attackers and transporting them, they said.

Three other absconding militants were identified as: Mohd Akbar of Sakhi Maidaan, Abu Usman and Abu Salam. A massive hunt has been launched to arrest them.

On 07/28/2005, four more men from Jammu and Kashmir – Akbar Hussain, Lal Mohammad, Mohmmad Nasser, and Mohmmad Rafeeq – were arrested in connection with the attack. On 08/03/2005, another man –  Asif Iqbal, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the bombing. Irfan Khan, a Unani doctor, was arrested a few days earlier.

Epilogue – 

* Saifullah Kari, the divisional commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, was killed in the encounter at Janipur area of Jammu, a part Jammu and Kashmir State in India, on 08/11/2007. According to Indian sources the Ayodhya attack was formulated jointly by Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Saifullah Kari in Bangladesh.

The Ayodhya shooting had brought the Babri Mosque issue back to the centre stage of Indian national politics.


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