2013 Chennai Central blasts: Still seeking closure

A nation-wide search is on for three members of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)

Chennai (MAS): A year after a low-intensity blast killed a young woman passenger and injured many others on the Bangalore – Chennai – Guwahati Express at Chennai Central Station, investigators are still on the hunt for the prime suspects.

While two of the five suspects were killed in an encounter with the Telangana police last month, a nation-wide search is on for the other three – members of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

CB-CID sleuths had managed to identify five suspects — Aijajudeen, Mehboob Guddu, Zahir Hussain Sadiq, Amzad and Mohammed Aslam — after some passengers of the train recalled spotting at least two of them in a reserved compartment a couple of hours before the blast.

In October 2013, they had escaped from a Madhya Pradesh prison and were involved in a bank robbery and dacoity. On April 5, Aijajudeen alias Aizaz and Mohammed Aslam alias Bilal were gunned down by the Telangana police in Nalgonda district after they shot dead a police constable and attempted to flee. Police are having a tough time tracking down the other three suspects.

Trajectory of TerrorThe blast was an eye-opener for the security agencies and Southern Railway too. Southern Railway announced that the first working day of May will be observed as ‘Swathi Day’. Rakesh Mishra, then general manager, had said the day should inspire railmen to rededicate themselves to passenger security.

The blasts also led to the stepping up of security measures at Central and other important stations. Security arrangements at all entry points have been intensified and the luggage of most passengers is now screened. “We ensured that commuters entered the premises through one door frame metal detector and got out through another. Dog squads were brought in to detect explosives. We will add 50 more CCTV cameras in the station. As of now, there are over 80,” an official said.