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Bombay Bombings Mastermind Killed by Police
Barry Kalb
VOa, Hong Kong
13 Sep 2003, 11:36 UTC

Police officials in Bombay, India say the mastermind behind last month's twin car bombings, which killed 52 people in the city and injured another 150, was shot to death Friday in a gun battle with police.

The man was Naseer, a Muslim who like many Indians uses only one name. Police officials say he was the brains behind twin car bombings in Bombay on August 25, which killed or injured more than 200 people.

The officials said Naseer had formed a group known as the Gujarat Muslim Revenge Force, whose aim was to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed by Hindu mobs in the state of Gujarat last year.

Naseer and an accomplice were reportedly traveling in a car loaded with explosives and guns late Friday when they were intercepted by the police in Bombay. The officials were quoted as saying the police knew of Naseer's movements, and had laid a trap for him.

When he tried to flee, a gunfight ensued, and he and his accomplice were killed. The accomplice has not yet been identified.

Two car bombs were set off within minutes of each other in Bombay last month, one in a crowded market and one at the famous Gateway of India, a landmark from the British colonial era. Fifty two people died and 150 were injured.

Four people had already been arrested, and according to police officials, they claimed they were avenging the more than 1,000 Muslims who died in last year's riots. One official said the suspects had identified Naseer as the man who provided them with the explosives used in the bombings.

The riots were a retaliation for the earlier deaths of 59 Hindus, who were killed when their train was set afire by Muslims. Naseer's Gujarat Muslim Revenge Force was also named as the perpetrator of a bombing in Bombay last July that killed four people and injured 42.

Bombay newspaper reports Saturday said Naseer had links to the group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Muslim group fighting a violent separatist battle in Indian Kashmir.