Coimbatore Blast Case: What TN Police Says vs What Families of Accused Say

Coimbatore Police says an ISIS terror module was exposed in the blast case, mothers of the accused refute the claim.

Coimbatore Blast Case: What TN Police Says vs What Families of Accused Say
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On 23 October 2022, when Coimbatore woke up to the news of a blast that took place in front of a temple in Kottaimedu, Maimun Begum asked her sons – Feroz (27) and Nawaz (25) to identify the person who died in the blast, she says.

"Looking at the car, a Maruti 800, my sons suspected that Jamesha Mubin could have been the one to have died. My sons had helped shift some household things from his house to his car on 22 October. I wanted them to report this to the police," Begum told The Quint.


However, Coimbatore's Commissioner of Police, V Balakrishnan, had a different version of events. "We identified the deceased, who was responsible for the blast, and arrested three youth who had helped him carry explosive substances to his car the night before the explosion," Balakrishnan told The Quint. CCTV footage of Feroz, Nawaz, Riyas, and Mubin carrying vats out of Mubin's house into the car was recovered.

In the blast case, which later led to an investigation into an alleged terror plot, the Coimbatore Police and the parents of four of the accused have different versions to share. Here are some of the parents' allegations as against the details of the police's investigation of the car blast case.


Mother Says She Asked Sons To Help Mubin; Police Say the Youth Were Radicalised

The police have maintained that they nabbed Firoz and Riyas because they were accomplices in the terror plot. Mubin was part of a "radicalised" gang, V Balakrishnan said, based on material objects recovered from his home. These included his diaries and notebooks, that had mentions of jihad, and other incriminating material, he added.

While two of the accused in the case – Afsar Khan and Azharuddin – were allegedly radicalised along with Mubin, investigation is on to figure out whether the other accused persons – Firoz, Nawaz, Riyas, and Talha – were also radicalised, Balakrishnan said.

Were Begum's sons part of the Azharuddin terror module?

Maimun Begum, mother of four, was a real estate agent till the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. She says she was the one who had asked her sons – Feroz and Riyas – to go to Mubin's home.

"Mubin had come home one day before the blast and asked whether my sons could help him shift some household utensils from his rented home into his car. I asked my sons to go help him and take their friend Riyas with them. When news of the blast came out, I asked my sons to approach the police and tell them the truth about what happened," Begum said.

Insisting that her sons would not have helped a terror plot she asked, "How can children who love their mother hurt the motherland?"


Mother Says NIA Will Prove Innocence; Police Say the Youth Were ISIS Influenced

While Begum has been meeting the press to speak for her sons, mothers of Riyas and Talha too have been claiming that their sons were falsely accused.

Riyas' family maintained that the young man went to Mubin's home only because Firoz requested him to.

Talha's family has claimed that he sold the Maruti 800 to Mubin without knowing the alleged purpose for which the car was to be used. Talha worked a used cars salesman before his arrest.

All the accused hail from economically weak families, for whom they were the main breadwinners.

"I do not have money to employ a lawyer...I hope the NIA proves my sons' innocence," Begum said. Her family has been living in uncertainty ever since her husband died three years ago, she said.

The police, however, said that the deceased, who allegedly triggered the blast, was influenced by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ideology. Mubin was an ISIS sympathiser, V Balakrishnan said, based on his team's investigation.

The police have been probing whether the other accused, including Begum's sons, were also influenced by the ISIS. According to the police, Firoz had met 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombing case accused Rashid just a few months ago.

The accused had targeted Sangameswarar temple in Kottaimedu, the police said. The investigation, which is now headed by the NIA is on.

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