Railway station bomb threat: Al-Umma sympathiser held

A sympathiser of the outlawed fundamentalist outfit, Al-Umma, who threatened to blow up the Vriddhachalam railway station, was nabbed by the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Tiruchy on Thursday.

The arrested, S Aslam John (49) hailing from Erode, had held out the threat through an anonymous letter last week. The accused, holds a notorious history of sending 17 such letters in the past and was imprisoned for six years on the same charges.

According to GRP sources, Aslam, though not a member of the Al-Umma, was allegedly running a fringe movement. “He is not associated with Al-Umma. However, we are inquiring to ascertain whether he is connected with any another terrorist group,” a senior GRP official at Tiruchy told Express over the phone.

A painter by profession, he had escaped from Erode, following suspicion that he was under the police scanner, the officer added. An anonymous post card, threatening to blow-up the Viriddhachalam railway station or railway line in Cuddalore district was received at the (Virudhachalam) station on July 27. The letter demanded the release of incarcerated Al-Umma activisits, GRP sources said.

Another anonymous post card bearing the name of Al-Umma was received by the Viriddhachalam station master on January this year. It also raised similar demands pertaining to the release of Muslims jailed under the National Security Act (NSA).

A press release here said, special teams were formed on the orders of ADGP, Railways, R Sekar. Aslam was involved in 17 cases between 2002 and 2005 registered in various railway police stations like Tiruchy, Mayiladuthurai, Villupuram, Virudhachalam, Dindigul, Karaikudi, Rameshwaram, Virudhunagar and Tirunelveli, for mailing such anonymous threat letters. It is his hobby to threaten railway officers, public and passengers, the release added.