Shariq was inspired and influenced by Islamic State, according to police. He hails from Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district and was travelling in an autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries, when it exploded on the outskirts of Mangaluru on Saturday. He suffered burn injuries and was shifted to a city hospital, where he was recovering on Monday and unable to speak.
His handler has been identified as Abdul Mateen Taha from Suddaguntepalya near Bengaluru. NIA has announced a reward of ₹5 lakh on Taha. NIA is likely to take over the probe as it is probing a similar incident of blast in Coimbatore in October. “Our priority is to see that Shariq survives. We have to take him to a stage where we can question him,” said Kumar.
Police said it had found matchbox, sulphur, phosphorus, batteries, circuit and nut and bolts. The owner of the house, Mohan Kumar, told the police that he wasn’t aware of these activities.
Taha was the “main handler”, according to the police. He, along with Khwaja and Mohammed Pasha from TN, were booked under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Suddaguntepalya in Bengaluru in 2020. Arafat Ali from Thirthahalli was also like his handler, said Kumar.
Search operations were carried out in seven locations, including Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Mysuru and Thirthahalli, said Kumar.