Chennai: On February 14, 1998, Coimbatore was rocked by a series of bomb blasts in which 11 explosions took place leading to the death of 56 people and injuring more than 200.
Those who had planned the blasts were targeting L.K. Advani, the then Deputy Prime Minister and senior leader of the BJP. However, he escaped unhurt as his flight was a bit late in reaching Coimbatore.
On August 8, 1993, a powerful blast ripped through the RSS headquarters in Tamil Nadu leaving 11 people dead and seven injured. Among the 11 who died were eight young RSS pracharaks (full-time workers of the RSS) while the other three were Swayamsevaks who had reached the RSS headquarters.
The blast that ripped through the RSS headquarters was planned and executed by Al-Umma and its leader S.A. Basha who had turned into a dreaded Islamic terrorist.
These two incidents were the two major retaliatory attacks carried out by the Islamists in Tamil Nadu after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The spurt in Islamic extremism in Tamil Nadu has its roots in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Dr G. Padmanabhan, Director of the think tank Socio-Economic Development Foundation, told IANS that the “Babri Masjid demolition of December 6, 1992, was taken up by the self-proclaimed saviours of Islam and they created an eco system of hate and hate mongering against the Hindus and in particular against the RSS and the BJP and Hindutva movements.
“Tamil Nadu turned into a hotbed of Islamic terrorism and even after the two major bomb blasts of August 8, 1993, in which the RSS office was bombed and on February 14, 1998, that led to the death of 56 people, the Islamic terrorists were trying to create a situation of hate across the state.”
He said that several RSS and BJP functionaries were killed. Even after the Popular Front of India (PFI) was banned there were petrol bomb attacks on the homes of RSS/BJP functionaries in many places in Tamil Nadu.
S.A. Basha and his Al-Umma colleagues are in Coimbatore central jail in the case related to the February 14, 1998 bombing and the organization is down but not out. The nephew of Basha, Mohammed Talka, is now lodged in Coimbatore prison under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in the Coimbatore car blast case in which a 29-year-old youth, Jameesha Mubin died. On investigation, the police and the NIA found that the blast was not accidental and that it was a planned attack but the inexperience of the killer led to the car blast at a place where there were no people.
The car bomb blast took place on October 23, 2022, near the Sangameswarar temple, Ukkadam, Coimbatore and it was Deepavali eve.
The killer, according to the police, was planning to conduct a lone wolf attack near the market where thousands of people flock for last minute shopping for the Deepavali celebrations.
It was after the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992, that the Islamic fundamentalists in Tamil Nadu tried to brainwash the Muslims to launch attacks against the RSS/BJP and create an ecosystem of hate against the Hindus in general.
An maulvi from Kanniyakumari while speaking to IANS on the condition of anonymity said, “Babri Masjid demolition was a major shock to the community, but sadly it was turned into hate-mongering by some fundamentalists who found resonance in the community.”
“Even though it was a small minority who wanted revenge, the entire Islamic society was turned into perpetrators of violence which is not true and is unacceptable. However, the voice of this small minority had an influence among certain youths who went all out for two major bombings, killing several innocent people which is never acceptable to Islam and its teachings.”
He added that Islamic scholars and maulvis have tried their best to remove such an attitude of these youths.
After the ban on the Popular Front of India, there have been some incidents of violence, but with the intelligence agencies on high alert, the chances of the Islamists’ regrouping are less. However more than a government-controlled or police-controlled restriction, it has to be from within the Islamic community that the churning should come to reduce the hate-mongering.