Friday, Sep 19, 2003
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By Manas Dasgupta
The Forensic Science Laboratory experts in Gandhinagar and Hyderabad have confirmed that the letters found on the bodies of the two slain terrorists were actually written by Moulvi Abdul Qayuum Mansuri, one of the five persons arrested from Ahmedabad in this connection.
The claim of the Gujarat police that it had unravelled the mystery behind the Akshardham temple attack on September 24 last year was under a cloud. The arrests of five persons from Dariapur and Shahpur localities in Ahmedabad on August 29 for providing local logistic support to the two Pakistani terrorists received flak from various quarters after the Jammu and Kashmir police produced Chand Khan, who was in their custody.
Chand Khan, it was claimed, confessed to police that he and two terrorists who attacked the temple, killing 33 people, had come to Ahmedabad from Anantnag via Rae Bareilley and Jaipur only the day before the attack and had no local contacts. The three accused from Ahmedabad who were taken to Srinagar, failed to recognise Chand Khan. The latter has since been brought to Gujarat and is in police custody.
But the FSL report was a shot in the arm for the Crime Branch police having established the theory that local support was available to the terrorists. Suspecting that the letters in Urdu in the name of a fictitious organisation, Tehrik-e-Kasas, claiming that the attack on the temple was to avenge Muslim killings in Gujarat riots and threatening that more such attacks would follow, was written by Moulvi Abdul Qayuum Mansuri, the police sent his six specimen signatures and a note-book recovered from his house to the FSL experts for confirmation.
The FSL director, J. M. Vyas, after studying the two sets of handwriting, also invited the Central Government Examiner of Questioned Document, R. K. Jain, and his deputy, A. K. Singh, from Hyderabad. All the experts have confirmed that the handwriting of the letters matched that of Mansuri.
The police, however, are still trying to find out how the pen with which the two letters were "written" was found in the temple complex.
The report of the FSL experts, police claimed, made it clear that at least Abdul Qayuum Mansuri was a part of the assault group and demolished Chand Khan's claim that there was no local support in the attack. The police would confront Chand Khan with fresh evidence to ascertain his role in the episode.
The five arrested from the city were produced in the special POTA court of Sonia Gokani here today for further remand. While Mansuri and Adam Ajmeri, from whose house some railway reservation forms were recovered, were remanded till September 26, the request for remand for Altaf Malek, Salim Hanif and Abdulmiya Saiyed were rejected. They were sent to judicial custody.
Meanwhile, most of the relatives of the victims of the Godhra train carnage, who lived in Amraiwadi-Ramol locality in the city, did not turn up for deposition before the Nanavati-Shah Commission. However, the octogenarian former civil surgeon, Dr. Girishchandra Raval, who lost his wife in the train carnage and later his young son in communal riots, sent a sealed cover to the Commission.
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