Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Dargah backyard used for training

Dargah backyard used for training

Author: Parth Shastri
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 18, 2008

The Khumtir dargah, sometimes pronounced Khuntmir by locals, was where SIMI activists set up a terror training camp in January 2008 to plan the bomb attacks on Ahmedabad and Surat. The shrine was attacked and partly damaged during the Gujarat riots of 2002.

The shrine-located between Halol and Pavagadh in Panchmahals district-is named after a saint with the same name and is a popular place of worship for the Tai sect of Muslims. The Tais stay mostly in south and central Gujarat, but the shrine is popular among worshippers from Andhra Pradesh, UP, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka as well.

The Tais are a wealthy businessmen community and are seen as moderates. Most of them are shocked by the reported disclosure by SIMI activists arrested for the Ahmedabad blasts that Khumtir was used for a training camp.

"We are all shocked by these developments," said Noor Mohammed Rathod, a cleric from Halol. Police officials however told TOI that the jungles behind the shrine, located at the foothills of Pavagadh, provided ideal cover for the camp. The approach to the spot where the camp was held is cut off by a stone quarry. The forest department stopped excavation there five years ago due to its impact on the environment.

Officials who visited the site said the terrorists had set up commando training facilities for rope climbing, hurdles and even made a make-shift firing range. "The Panchmahals police sometimes uses the same area as a firing range. This is why even the people who stay nearby did not notice anything amiss while the camp was in operation," said the official.

Ameel Parvez-the member of SIMI's central advisory committee who was arrested from Indore in March 2008 along with radical leader Safdar Nagori-had described the spot during interrogation as "near a dargah on the highway, around 40 kms from Vadodara." "This region has many dargahs and other shrines, all of which are now under surveillance," said J R Mothaliya, superintendent of police, Panchmahals.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements