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Thursday, October 15, 1998
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Plan to kill Advani
Suicide squad’s leader held

COIMBATORE, Oct 14 (UNI) — Close on the heels of the arrest of seven key militants at Rajahmundry last week, the Tamil Nadu crime branch (CID) police today nabbed Amanullah Khan, head of the seven-member suicide squad assigned to eliminate Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani, now Union Home Minister, during his visit here to address an election meeting on February 14.

Amanullah, arrested near Erode in the early morning, was the "amir" (head) of the suicide squad which had set out, with "belt and throw-type" bombs, from the burial site of 18 persons killed in communal riots last year.

He was armed with a "belt bomb" meant to blow up the dais from which Mr Advani was to address a meeting at R.S. Puram here.

Amanullah could not penetrate the security cordon to reach the dais, and the meeting itself was cancelled following the serial blasts which rocked the city minutes before Mr Advani was to address the meeting. Over sixty persons were killed in the blasts and more than 250 injured.

Amanullah was the lone member of the suicide squad who had managed to evade the police dragnet. Four members were arrested by the police while two were killed in the blasts. The Tamil Nadu government had announced a reward of Rs two lakh for anyone giving information leading to his arrest.

With today’s arrest, the total number of militants arrested for involvement in the blasts rose to 177. Only 10 more militants are yet to be nabbed.

The meeting was cancelled in the wake of the blasts minutes before Mr Advani was to address the gathering.

PTI adds: Seven key suspects arrested in Andhra Pradesh in connection with the February 14 Coimbatore bomb blasts were today taken into CB-CID custody for 10 days.

The suspects nabbed at Rajahmundry on Sunday were brought to Coimbatore from Chennai and produced before the fifth judicial magistrate court this morning, who ordered them to 10 days CB-CID custody for interrogation.

They are banned fundamentalist outfit Al-Umma’s general secretary Mohammed Ansari, Siddiq Ali (son of Al-Umma’s leader S.A. Basha), Nawab Khan (Basha’s brother), Mohammed Zubair (Basha’s brother-in-law), and Yusuf, and Syed Mohammed Buhari and Hidayat Ali Khan.

The accused raised slogans demanding a ban on the RSS and VHP and the release of Basha. The area surrounding the court was cordoned off before the accused were brought to the court under tight security.

Meanwhile, the police have spread the dragnet for seven suspects still at large.back

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