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Islamist outfit Tamil Nadu Thouheed Jamath wants the release of terrorists convicted for 1998 Coimbatore blasts, says they are being ‘denied justice’

Members of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath were earlier booked for issuing death threats to the judges over the Karnataka hijab verdict.

A month after the Supreme Court prematurely released 6 convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Islamist outfit ‘Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath'(TNTJ) has now cried foul over the continued incarceration of the 1998 Coimbatore blast terrorists.

While hinting at prejudice towards radical Islamists, TNTJ demanded the immediate release of the terrorists. As per reports, officer bearers of TNTJ, namely, E Farook (Vice-President), and I Ansari (State Secretary) met Tamil Nadu Additional Chief Secretary K Phanindra Reddy in this regard.

The Islamist outfit claimed that while assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were prematurely released, terrorists involved in the 1998 Coimbatore blast were being ‘denied justice’ because of their faith.

It must be mentioned that members of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath were earlier booked for issuing death threats to the judges over the Karnataka hijab verdict.

The Coimbatore serial blasts of 1998

A series of devastating bomb blasts rocked Coimbatore on 14 February 1998 which killed around 60 people and nearly killed LK Advani, the then BJP president whose scheduled arrival was delayed as his flight was late by over 90 minutes.

The bombs were concealed in cars, motorcycles, bicycles, side boxes of two-wheelers, denim and rexine bags, and fruit carts. Reports mention that the bombings were apparently in retaliation to the 1997 Coimbatore riots that happened during November and December in the year 1997.

Mayhem caused during 1998 serial blasts in Coimbatore (Wire)

The terror plot was named ‘Operation Allahu Akbar’ and intended to kill Mr. Advani who was supposed to address an election meeting in the city that day. Seven human bombers with packaged explosives fastened to their waists were ready to attack LK Advani.

However, their preparations failed since they were unable to penetrate the police barrier and approach him. But the other explosives put across the city, in vehicles, motorcycles, tea cans, unsecured bags, and so on, were detonated, causing extensive mayhem and loss of life throughout Coimbatore.

Mayhem caused during 1998 serial blasts in Coimbatore (National Herald)

The investigation later revealed that an Islamist terrorist organisation named Al-Ummah and its chief Syed Ahmed Basha were responsible for the attack. Basha had planned the attack in retaliation to the 1997 riots.

Basha, the first accused and the founder-president of Al-Ummah, was then sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 120-B (conspiracy) of the IPC read with additional IPC offences, including murder, in 2003, and three years of hard imprisonment under Section 153 A (1) of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion).

Basha’s brother, Nawab Khan, was also sentenced to life in jail. Now, Khan’s son identified as Muhammed Thalka has been arrested for his involvement in the recent cylinder blasts that happened in the city on October 23, 2022.

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