May 18, 2007

India: The Deadly Blast at Mecca Mosque

Sourtce: Stratfor
May 18, 2007 11 43 GMT



Summary

An explosion occurred during Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad, India, on May 18, killing at least five people and injuring 27. Two other bombs were found and defused in the area. The blast occurred against a backdrop of rising Islamist militancy in India's southern region by Kashmiri Islamist groups.

Analysis

Five people were killed and at least 27 injured May 18 when a bomb exploded in the historic Mecca Mosque in the Charminar area of the old city in Hyderabad, India. Two more live bombs reportedly were found in the vicinity and defused.

Mecca Masjid is the main mosque in Hyderabad, and thousands of people were gathered for Friday prayers when the bomb exploded around 1:30 p.m. local time. At least 7,000 to 8,000 people perform Friday prayers at the mosque and the fatalities would have been much higher if the bomb had exploded five to six minutes earlier, said Hyderabad member of parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, though he did not elaborate. The failure of the other two bombs to detonate and the low death toll indicates this was an amateurish attack.

The blast occurred against a backdrop of rising Islamist militancy in India's southern region by Kashmiri Islamist groups. The aim of the Kashmiri groups in the southern states appears to be focused on recruitment. These groups have had little success in radicalizing India's Muslim population, and so have been sending in teams to flare up religious fervor and reinvigorate the debate on Kashmir. The groups could be attempting to provoke Indian security forces to crack down on the Muslim population, thereby legitimizing militant groups' causes.

This appears also be the case in Karnataka, home of the high-tech city of Bangalore. Kashmiri Islamist group Hizbul Mujahideen recently issued a statement condemning the harassment of Kashmiri students in Bangalore, claiming such acts negate the claims of Jammu and Kashmir state Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad that no student would be harassed outside of Kashmir. The statement added that students and businesspeople working in other states are vulnerable. By bringing to light these alleged injustices against Kashmiris, these groups are attempting to draw more public support for their militant campaign against India.

Hyderabad has a large Muslim population, and this attack is likely to serve as a catalyst for communal riots in the area. A group angered by the attack already has begun throwing stones at nearby shops and police forces. As Hyderabad is one of India's major hubs for the information technology industry, businesses in the area should exercise caution.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Statfor seems to be doing disinformation by implicating kashmiri seperatists in this blast.The strongest suspicion should have been on the bangladeshi militants who can merge easily with the locals due to their skin colour. The last attack on Indian institute of Science in bangalore, as well as the previous Hyderabad attacks had links with LET who inturn outsource the terror attack to its arm in bangladesh.
I EXPECT more such attacks in Southern Mosques as well as in Kerala to creat hindu/Muslim riots