| A relative of an Akshardham attack victim after the anniversary prayers on Wednesday. (PTI)
Ahmedabad, Sept. 24: On the first anniversary of the Akshardham temple attack today, the city crime branch claimed — a second time in less than a month — to have solved the case.
Crime branch joint commissioner of police P.P. Pandey said: “The temple attack was a joint operation conducted by several modules of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkhar-e-Toiba, having their network from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and other cities.
“The ISI is the mother of all these banned outfits and is the brain behind conducting terrorist attacks in the country by giving separate tasks to each module of the outfits located in different states.”
The claim was made on the basis of “documentary evidence” available with police and “precise information” revealed during the interrogation of Chand Khan, an arrested Lashkar militant.
About a month ago, Ahmedabad city police commissioner K.R. Kaushik had pointed out the Riyadh link.
Pandey also said Khan had told Jammu and Kashmir police only the “half truth” when he said he had escorted two fidayeen to Ahmedabad and no person from this city was involved. Khan has been in Gujarat police custody since September 12 after Jammu and Kashmir police arrested him.
On interrogation, he had admitted to have lied “to protect his family” in Anantnag as he feared for them if he talked about meeting local contacts here who provided logistic support for the attack, Pandey said. Khan’s role was to bring weapons and ammunition from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir to Ahmedabad.
His claim of escorting the two fidayeen from Srinagar to Ahmedabad by road was also found to be untrue as the duo came with him only up to Bareilly. They were escorted by another person whom Khan had met in Kashmir, Pandey said.
According to the officer, Khan did not know about the involvement of five persons arrested from the city’s Dariyapur and Shahpur localities because multiple modules, with little contact with each other, are usually involved in militant attacks.
As prayers were offered at the temple in memory of the 32 victims, the police stood by their claim that the conspiracy was hatched in Riyadh by the Lashkhar and the Jaish along with their Hyderabad networks.
Two heavily-armed militants had stormed the temple in Gandhinagar, killing 32 and injuring 83. National Security Guard commandos had killed the attackers in a 12-hour-long operation.
A mahapuja was performed today in the presence of several relatives of victims at the temple, now secured by huge walls all around and under tight security.
Ishwarcharan Swami read out a message from the pramukh swami, saying “people should gather strength from this incident and ensure that terrorism does not strike upon any religion in the world in this manner”.