It’s been over a week since the Easter Sunday shocker in Sri Lanka when six bombs went off in various churches and hotels, claiming the lives of at least 359 people, many of them women and children.
Initially there was speculation about who might have been up to this, but a couple of days later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
But one of the big revelations that emerged in the wake of the attacks was that India knew that the attacks were coming, including specific intelligence about who was up to it.
How did they know? Here’s how.
In November last year, the NIA was investigating a case related to the conspiracy by a seven-member group to murder Tamil Nadu’s Hindu Makkal Katchi leader Arjun Sampath and Sakthi Sena leader Anbumari.
The NIA had raided three places in Coimbatore in connection with the plot in December, and that’s when they stumbled upon videos of one Mohammed Zaharan, the man behind the attacks in Sri Lanka.
The videos showed Zaharan radicalising the youth of Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala to establish an Islamic rule in the region.
Then the NIA investigated further, including tracking some of the online accounts associated with the Islamic State. As part of that, our security agencies tracked the activities of National Thowheeth Jama’ath, Zaharan’s group, with the terror leader known to have spent time both in India and Sri Lanka, preaching hateful messages to the choir.
Then, on 4 April, Indian officials provided Sri Lankan counterparts with specific information, such as cell phone numbers, about Zaharan and his group’s insidious plan to carry out suicide attacks on Catholic churches and the Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka.
According to Reuters, Indian intelligence officials warned Sri Lanka even two hours before the first blast. But unfortunately, Sri Lanka did not act.
But once the attacks did take place, within hours the Sri Lankan security services detained at least 40 suspects. They were able to do this because of the information they had prior to the attacks.
The Sri Lankan government later admitted that they had the intelligence and had failed to act on it.
If only they had acted on it before.
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