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Attack on Ayodhya temple - foiled by police, security alert at dhams

nabadip - Tue, 05 Jul 2005 18:14:09 +0530
6 militants storm Ayodhya, killed

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 05, 2005 10:31 IST
Last Updated: July 05, 2005 12:55 IST

Six heavily armed terrorists, who made an attempt to storm the high-security makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya were killed before they could make it to the shrine.

The attackers came in an ambassador car at around 0900 IST, following an explosive-laden jeep, which they rammed into the security barricade to breach the cordon.

While one militant who rammed the jeep was blown to pieces, five others were killed in the encounter with security personnel, Faizabad Commissioner Arun Sinha said.

Sources said that a woman devotee, who happened to be near the scene of blast, also succumbed to her injuries in the hospital, official sources here said.

Principal Secretary Alok Sinha said in Lucknow that all the pilgrims were safe and no damage was done to the temple area.

He said the driver of the ambassador car has been arrested and three security men were injured in the operation, which lasted nearly one-and-half-hours.

Police sources said that the militants were disguised as devotees.

The barricade and the protective wall collapsed as a result of the explosion and the militants were able to gain entry into the campus through the Sita rasoi (kitchen), Sinha said.

He said the security personnel however intercepted them.

In Lucknow, the state police chief Yashpal Singh said the militants could not reach the makeshift Ram Temple and were stopped much before that by the security personnel.

Police sources said the arrested driver Rehan is a resident of Ayodhya and he was being interrogated.

Four AK 47 and AK 56 rifles, some hand grenades and ammunition were recovered from the bodies of the slain militants, they said.

This is the first terrorist attack on the disputed complex since the makeshift temple came up after the demolition of Babri mosque 13 years ago.
nabadip - Tue, 05 Jul 2005 18:17:32 +0530
security measures increased at major temple sites all over India

"A high alert was also sounded in the Char Dham shrine circuit comprising Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttaranchal and Krishna Janamabhoomi. "
nabadip - Tue, 05 Jul 2005 18:26:22 +0530
More details of the incident, reactions of opinion-leaders here:

Govt admits to security lapse at Ayodhya


The wreckage of a jeep that was used to blow up part of a wall of the high-security Ayodhya complex.( AP Photo ),curpg-1.cms

NEW DELHI: A terrorist attack on the disputed Ram temple in Ayodhya was foiled when six armed militants were gunned down in a two-hour crossfire with the CRPF.

In a major breach of security, armed militants stormed the Ram Janmabhoomi premises in Ayodhya on Tuesday morning, sparking a gunbattle with police.

In what appears to be a fidayeen attack, unidentified persons, armed with five AK 47s and one pistol gained entry into the disputed Ram Janambhoomi campus at 8:30 am and fired indiscriminately.


Today's attack is the third major attack on a religious place in the country in the last three years.

In September 2002, terrorists stormed the Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinagar killing 46 people and injuring 81.

Two months later, in November 2002, militants attacked the Raghunath temple in Jammu, killing nine people and injuring 42.


Today's attack is being seen a major intellligence failure. The Centre has been quick to admit a security lapse that failed to prevent the attack.

Ayodhya is guarded by thousands of policemen and paramilitary forces. The site has multiple barricades where each devotee is searched before being allowed in.

Unconfirmed reports, however, say that the state police had recently reduced the forces around the complex.


The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) abruptly interrupted the meeting of its leaders at Surat to flay what they said was the lack of adequate security at Hindu religious places.

The leaders expressed serious concern over the attack and appealed to the people to register their strong protests in a "peaceful manner".

"The lack of security allowed the terrorists to easily enter the premises and commit a heinous crime," said RSS spokesman Ram Madhav. "The nation should rise like one man to condemn the incident."

VHP firebrand leader Praveen Togadia attributed the militant attack to "Pakistan, jehadi terrorism and Muslim votebank politics".

He demanded that India discontinue the ongoing dialogue with Pakistan and asked the Indian Army to "crush Pak-sponsored terror".

"They attacked the temple of democracy - the Indian parliament - now they have attacked the temple of national devotion, Ayodhya," thundered VHP leader Pravin Togadia.

"This is an attack on India, on a future economic superpower, and a challenge to the nation. This is war against the Indian polity."

BJP President, L K Advani said the party would hold nationwide protests on Wednesday.

The attackers used two vehicles -- a jeep loaded with bombs that blew up part of a wall at the outer periphery of the high-security complex, and a car which they drove through the breach in the wall.

Security forces have arrested the driver of the vehicle used by the terrorists to reach the temple.

The sanctum sanctorum suffered no damages.

All the five militants were gunned down in the operation that lasted three hours.

Intelligence agencies suspect Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) hand behind the attack.

It is learnt that the LeT had been planning to attack the temple for a long time. One such plot was unearthed by the BSF in 2003...
nabadip - Tue, 05 Jul 2005 18:51:29 +0530
India Braces for Ethnic Clashes After Attack on Religious Site

Published: July 5, 2005
The New York Times

NEW DELHI, India, July 5 -- India's best known tinder-box of Hindu-Muslim strife, the heavily fortified Hindu temple compound at Ayodhya, was stormed by several gunmen Tuesday morning, though the attack was repelled.

After a firefight that lasted more than two hours, officials said the temple compound had been secured and at least five suspected assailants had been killed; neither their identities, nor their motives has been established yet.

The office of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the attack "a threat to our security and polity" while other members of his cabinet appealed for calm. The government said several Indian cities, national monuments and religious sites had been placed on high alert in anticipation of potential communal clashes.

Right-wing Hindu political groups seized on the attack to criticize the government for failing to protect the complex. Lal Krishna Advani, the head of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., called for nationwide protests to take place Wednesday.

Mr. Advani, whose own reign as head of the Hindu nationalist party has been troubled for several weeks, declared during a nationally televised press conference that the Ayodhya temple issue was back "on center stage." Last month, Mr. Advani was criticized by Hindu hardliners for praising the legacy of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of predominately Muslim Pakistan.

Mr. Advani, the architect of the ascendance of Hindu right politics in this country, was present when a Hindu mob, numbering in the thousands, stormed Ayodhya compound in Dec. 1992, and with their bare hands, demolished a 16th century mosque that had stood there. The Hindus alleged that Muslim rulers had built their mosque on top of a temple that had marked the birthplace of a blue-skinned Hindu deity, called Ram. In the ensuing riots, more than 1,100 people were killed, most of them Muslims.

The Ayodhya temple movement buoyed the B.J.P. to the leadership of a national coalition government in 1999, though the party was trounced in elections last year when the Congress Party returned to power as the lead party in a coalition government.

Today, the temple's attackers apparently hired a car in Ayodhya, less than 400 miles southeast of Delhi, and drove it around the fence surrounding the temple compound. In defiance of rigid security protocols that prevent people from approaching the temple compound, the attackers used a second vehicle, a white Jeep packed with explosives, to tear open a hole through the yellow metal perimeter fence. A firefight broke out with security forces inside the compound.

Within two hours, at least five suspected attackers had been killed and three security personnel and at least one civilian witness had been injured.

The driver of the hired Ambassador car, who had been held for questioning, said during a nationally televised police interrogation that his passengers had requested to see the holy sites of Ayodhya. The driver said the men offered a prayer at another local temple before attacking the temple.

The Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, said he had spoken to opposition politicians and advised them "not to say or do anything that would arouse people's feelings and create complications."

Shortly thereafter, Jaswant Singh, former foreign minister with the B.J.P.-led government countered, "This is not an attack on a structure, it is an attack on the Hindu faith."
nabadip - Wed, 06 Jul 2005 14:49:36 +0530
What the Ayodhya attack signifies

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | July 05, 2005 22:49 IST
Last Updated: July 06, 2005 00:04 IST

What does the attack on Ayodhya signify?

Before anything else, every concerned Indian should bow to the personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Uttar Pradesh police for killing the five terrorists (one is supposed to have blown himself up) who were out to wreck India's communal harmony by targeting the sensitive Ram Janambhoomi and eventually affect its march towards faster economic development.

As Congress president Sonia Gandhi put it, 'it was an attack on the prestige of India'.

The attack is a wake-up call for the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government.

The critics will have strong justification when they claim the much-celebrated India-Pakistan peace process has not helped in curbing threats of jihadi terrorism in India. But nevertheless, it also proves that there are more reasons to keep up the peace process with better tact and strategy.

The inbuilt expectation from the India-Pakistan peace process was that it would stop jihadi or any kind of terrorism from across the Western border into India. The incident in Ayodhya proves that India needs to urgently do a reality check.

This event also signifies that India's battle against terrorism is far from over. It's now obvious that the UPA government's efforts to counter terrorism lack strategy.

A tragedy has been averted and it's time to learn the lessons. For the moment, the state of internal security seems as fickle as it was when the terrorists attacked Parliament.

Talking to, jihadi terrorism expert B Raman said, "One of the reasons for escalation of jihadi activities in India could be the fast developing India-US relations. All over the world, Osama bin Laden-led terrorists are aiming at countries which are close allies of America like Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Kenya and Indonesia."

He said Islamist terrorists were closely watching the fast growing diplomatic and defence relations between the US and India. They perceive India as a surrogate nation and they think that now India is aligning with the US in their designs in Asia.

Raman said, "India should expect many more attacks in the coming months by LeT type of organisations."

Who tried to vandalise the Ramjanmabhoomi on Tuesday and why?

A top level source in the government told that the first report the CRPF sent from Ayodhya suggested that this was an act of the Lashkar–e-Tayyiba.

LeT is the military wing of Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad , the fundamentalist organisation based in Muridke near Lahore in Pakistan.

Most LeT members are believers of a sect called the Ahle-Hadith. The LeT was also behind the attack on Indian Parliament. It has been banned by India and the United States.

Dr Ajay Sahni of South Asia Terrorism Portal told that the Lashkar's agenda, as outlined in a pamphlet titled 'Why we are waging jihad' includes the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India, not just Jammu and Kashmir.

Is the LeT still strong even after US pressure on Pakistan to curb jihadi terrorism on its soil?

Indian experts on jihadi terrorism consider such assumptions (that America is able to influence Pakistan authorities in curbing the anti-India activities of Pakistan-based fundamentalists) naïve.

They think the LeT is not only surviving but is growing strong. Raman said, "After the Iraq war in 2003, there was a decrease in terrorist activity on Indian soil. After the Mumbai bomb blasts in 2003, there have been no major terrorist attacks... at least outside Jammu and Kashmir. But now, a large number of Saudi recruits have joined the war against the US in Iraq. As a result, Pakistani elements of LeT have returned on the Indian borders."

Raman added that the more important thing to note was that the LeT was now desperate to recruit Indian Muslims in its cadre.

Raman said the attack proves that "the so-called India-Pakistan peace process has no impact whatsoever on the motivation of jihadi terrorists." One must not forget that LeT is an associate of the Osama bin Laden-led international Jihadi movement.

Dr Sahni said, "Pakistan is bent on influencing any section of the Indian society possible to wage war against India, whether they are insurgents in the northeast or the Khalistani group or the Islamic group."

Why do most Indian terrorism experts tend to blame Pakistan when such attacks take place?

When the Indian state is so vulnerable to violent attacks, one can't help but listen to what its senior ministers and government say on record in Parliament.

Pranab Mukherjee, who was on a visit to the US, said in an interview to India Abroad diplomatic editor Aziz Haniffa that 'the United States of America considers Pakistan as a very effective ally to fight against terrorism and the Taliban. We consider that cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is taking place as it is inspired by Pakistan. But these two different appreciations of situations does not mean we are not friends.'

Raman pointed out that Mukherjee's statement says it all.

Notwithstanding the peace process, Pakistan President General Musharraf has not taken any credible legal action against the Harakat ul-Mujahideen aka Harakat ul-Ansar's chief Fazlur Rehman Khalil, or against LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. They are engaged openly in anti-India activities in Pakistan.

When a reliable source in the Indian government claims that LeT is behind the Ayodhya attack on Tuesday, obviously the buck stops in Islamabad.

Dr Sahni said last year 1800 people were killed in J&K because of terrorism.

He said, "Unless the Pakistan government stops providing a safe haven to terrorists, the violence in J & K will not stop."

Can the government of India declare that Mukherjee's statement on American soil is a lie or accept that in spite of the ongoing peace process Musharraf's support to terrorist activities in India has not ended, asks Dr Sahni.

Many experts believe the Manmohan Singh government is in denial mode. In its anxiety to keep the peace process on track, it is wary of coming clean on terrorist attacks in J&K.

Sahni said, "We have written many times that because the Kashmir issue has attracted international attention it is no more possible for Pakistan to carry on terrorism openly in J&K. We have expected that once the sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir ends they will have to move to the rest of India. Musharraf has a simple strategy. Try for the so-called settlement of Kashmir and also keep up pressure on India. If peace negotiations fail, increase pressure on India by other means.''

Raman said, "I would not say that Pakistan is directly involved in the Ayodhya attack but it is entirely possible that such movement and activities are continuing with their knowledge. This is certainly a case of sponsorship of terrorism."

What would the fallout from the Ayodhya attack be?

It is easy to predict. The blame game will start... sorry, it has already started. The state government claims credit for killing the terrorists without loss of civilian life. The central government has also made statements taking credit saying it had alerted states about the possibility of such attacks. Everyone knows the Ram temple is one of the most well guarded sites in India because it was on the terrorist hitlist.

The Bharatiya Janata Party will heave a sigh of relief because the Jinnah controversy will nw be buried. It will try to whip up passion in favour of its core agenda -- Ram temple.

The BJP will also try to cash in as much as they can to revive the Ayodhya issue. Modi has already announced a Rs 10 lakh award for the security personnel.

The Congress will be on the defensive because it lacks credibility to deal with the subtle messages emanating from Ayodhya.

People will watch politicians play games over the Ayodhya attack for some time. Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh, has asked for the resignation of home minister Shivraj Patil. Of course, he conveniently forgets that when Kargil happened, when Parliament was attacked, when in Godhra kar sevaks were not provided timely security, none of his party leaders in responsible positions resigned.
nabadip - Sun, 10 Jul 2005 23:40:23 +0530
Ayodhya just a sideshow

Udayan Namboodiri/ New Delhi
The Pioneer


The attack on Ayodhya's Ram Mandir was just one of the many big strikes planned in northern India by the dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The Pakistan-based terrorist group has a formidable programme of assassinations and mayhem chalked out for 2005, sources say.

It intended victims, apart from hundreds of innocent Indians, include BJP president LK Advani and senior party leaders from Uttar Pradesh like Mr Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar and Lalji Tandon.

That Mr Advani is on the hitlist of Pakistan's jehad factory is a fact known to Intelligence agencies since the mid-1990s. For many years, the BJP leader's picture used to be put up for target practice in the camps run by these outfits in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

But last month, when the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force conducted a swoop on a nascent LeT module in Lucknow and arrested its chief Sadat Rashid, they discovered how far the terrorists had got with their plans.

Sadat, a Bihari, and his associate, Masood Alam, are members of a growing community of Indian recruits of the LeT, whose job is to prepare safe houses for Pakistani terrorists and lay out the logistics for operations like Ayodhya. He revealed during interrogation that he had been asked to follow the movements of key BJP leaders in UP and keep track of political developments which might necessitate Mr Advani to travel in the region. A large amount of explosives, a pistol and ammunition were found in his house.

Sadat's admissions, followed by the receipt of a specific tip off from another source of an impending strike on the Delhi Metro, made the security agencies realise that the LeT was up to staging some spectacular act of terrorism.

The first sign of this was available from the captured militant who revealed that attacks on Infosys' Bangalore office and the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun were on the anvil. The Government reacted by beefing up security for BJP leaders and forming a special committee headed by a joint commissioner of Delhi Police to protect the Capital's new mass rapid transportation system.

Apart from the UP Government's failure to act on the tip-off on Ayodhya, what has unnerved the national security apparatus is the fact that the LeT now has enough Indians working for it as "sleepers". Without such facilitators, the terrorists who carried out the failed strike could not have moved about so deep inside Indian territory and that too with such a large cache of arms.

After all, one can't conceal four AK-47s, one AK-56, 17 live grenades, pistols, rocket-propelled grenades and an unknown quantity of explosives under his shirt. These would have been concealed in people's homes all over UP and moved from place to place before being collected at a prearranged location by the hit squad just ahead of D-Day, sources point out.

Without a well-laid out infrastructure of support an operation of this scale could not have been conceived. Fidayeen operations are cleared at the highest level in the ISI and the green signal could hardly have come without a solid work-plan being confirmed.

The security agencies are certain that the much-wanted LeT operative of Indian origin, Salar, is acting with fresh vigour in the region. A criminal who moved to militancy with the Harkat-ul-Ansar in the early 1990s, Salar was involved in the 1996 Republic Day blasts in Jaipur and Bhopal, the bus bomb in Dausa, Rajasthan and other operations.

He was also involved in the kidnapping of five western tourists in Jammu and Kashmir, a case which is still unsolved. Salar is known to have set up bases for the LeT in Agra, Ferozabad, Aligharh and Meerut after he joined it in the late 1990s.

The police of three Indian States and the US Government have put a huge price on Salar's head. But he has managed to keep a step ahead of his pursuers. Delhi Police's anti-terrorist cell came to know that the two Pakistanis who were gunned down in the Uttam Nagar encounter on March 6 were under the charge of Salar.

The macro picture of LeT operations is, meanwhile, getting more awesome. Already the most feared South Asian terrorist outfit, the much-banned LeT is now spreading its wings in the US and Australia where sleeper cells are known to have been opened. Iraq may be the next stage of its activities. What marks this group out in the view of security experts is the willingness of its young, educated cadres to be part of suicide groups.

Pakistan's continued support to this deadly group is a matter of concern. Despite General Musharraf's claims to the contrary, the fact remains that the LeT's parent, Markaz Dawat-ul Irshad, is allowed to maintain a 200-acre headquaters in Mudrike which is only 30 km from Lahore. The LeT itself has 2,200 offices in Pakistan and more than two dozen training and launching camps for militants. India and the world body's appeals to Islamabad to crack down on these facilities have, till date, yielded nothing.
nabadip - Mon, 11 Jul 2005 21:32:09 +0530
New security plan ready for temple towns

The Uttar Pradesh Government, with assistance of Central agencies, has drawn up an elaborate security plan for Ayodhya, Mathura and Varanasi following Tuesday's terrorist attack at Ram Janmabhoomi premises.