Coimbatore blast: Jamesha Mubin was ‘radicalised’, rejected democratic organisations

A mechanical engineering graduate who ran a bookshop and later got involved in textile business, local residents of Ukkadam say efforts to deradicalise Jamesha Mubin did not work.
Coimbatore Blast latest updates
Coimbatore Blast latest updates
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As the Tamil Nadu police are picking up pieces to unravel the larger conspiracy behind the car blast in Coimbatore on October 23, more details are emerging on how 28-year-old Jamesha Mubin, who was questioned by the NIA in 2019, was radicalised. Mubin, who hails from Ukkadam, was kept under a ‘watch list’ after the ‘Coimbatore/Kerala ISIS’ module came under the NIA scanner following Easter day bombings in Sri Lanka. Investigators now suspect that the conspiracy to carry out terror attack in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district could have been hatched from inside prison.

Who was Jamesha Mubin?

Mubin was a mechanical engineering graduate who hailed from Ukkadam area in Coimbatore. Though he completed his graduation, he never pursued a career in engineering, and ended up running an old book shop in the district and was later involved in a textile business. According to the police, over the years, Mubin was radicalised by extremist ideology, and was inspired by the Islamic State.

Local residents describe Jamesha Mubin as an introvert with an eccentric personality who refused to mingle with any groups or organisations that believe in a democratic process. TNM spoke to a few people from Mubin’s neighbourhood and they said that he was someone who did not want to be part of any organisation. “He used to constantly criticise Muslim political and apolitical organisations. One cannot ignore the fact that there are people and groups like this which do not believe in the democratic process and Mubin was one among them,” a neighbour said.

Radicalisation of Mubin

According to police sources, Mubin first met 32-year-old Mohammed Azarudheen at a mosque in Coimbatore. According to a chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Special Court in Ernakulam in a Coimbatore ISIS module case, Azarudheen was associated with an organisation called Wahadath-e-Islami and was indulging in delivering bayans (religious sermons) in various places including a mosque in Coimbatore from 2013.

In 2017, Azarudheen became an active member of the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS/Daish and formed a module in Tamil Nadu. He used to conduct secret classes and meetings in Coimbatore and Kerala to motivate his associates to take up ISIS’ violent extremist ideology. The group was also active on social media platforms to recruit vulnerable youth.

The chargesheet further said that Azarudheen was in touch with Sri Lankan nationals through Facebook and other encrypted social media platforms, where they used to exchange violent Jihadi ideology espoused by the ISIS. He also suggested to his associates to watch the speeches of Sri Lankan ISIS leader Zahran Hashim, the mastermind behind the Sri Lankan Easter bombings in which around 250 people were killed.

According to NIA, Azarudheen also conducted secret classes at various places on Jihad and atrocities committed against Muslims all over the world. The NIA investigation revealed that during these classes, Azarudheen and his associates would talk about ISIS and allegedly convince youngsters to join the terrorist organisation.

After the Sri Lankan Easter blast in April 2019, Mohammed Azarudheen in a closed door interaction had allegedly ‘warned’ his group about his imminent arrest and advised them not to reveal what was discussed in the classes to the police.

Jamesha under radar of agencies

In 2019, after the Sri Lankan Easter bombings, the entire ‘Coimbatore/Kerala ISIS’ module came under the NIA scanner and Mohammed Azharudden was arrested. The crackdown on the ISIS module was followed by raids on suspects in Coimbatore.

Jamesha Mubin was questioned by the NIA on his links with Azharudeen and about the ISIS module that was operating in Coimbatore. ‘Nothing significant was found and his digital records were clean,’ sources said. However, Jamesha Mubin was put under the ‘watch list’ by both central and state agencies.

After Mubin came under the NIA radar, there was an attempt made by the members of Ukkadam area Jamaat to reach out to him and enrol him into a de-radicalisation programme. “Our attempts did not yield any results as he was adamant and non-cooperative,” a Jamaat member told TNM.

Mubin continued to remain a ‘person of interest’ for both central and state agencies. Sources say specific inputs were sent by intelligence regarding Mubin’s team but it was not followed up by the law and order division of the police.

“Prior to Sunday’s car blast outside Kottai Easwaran temple in Ukkadam, state intelligence alerts were sent to the district police to keep a watch on the activities of this module that is highly inspired by ISIS,” said an officer.

Why ISIS module was active despite crackdown

Police sources say after the NIA crackdown on the Coimbatore ISIS group, the module was dormant for a few years. Investigations further revealed that Mubin travelled to Kerala to meet Azarudheen during his court hearings and also met Rashid Ali who is lodged in a prison in Thrissur after being convicted in a similar ISIS module case. TNM spoke to the neighbours of Mubin, who said that two days before the blast he visited his in-laws house to drop his wife and two girl children. ‘He informed the family members that he is going for an outdoor trip for business purposes,” The family got to know about his involvement in the blast on Sunday evening when they got a call from the police.

During a search of his house, police found 75 kgs of raw materials like potassium nitrate, aluminium power, sulphur and charcoal that could be used in making low intensity bombs. According to the police, forensic investigations into Mubin’s digital devices revealed that he has looked up on YoutTube how to make bombs, and also made a list of important locations.

For now investigators believe that Mubin may have been conducting a recce and planning for a terror strike. Efforts are on to unearth the larger conspiracy which could have inter-state or international links too.

The death of Mubin in the car blast has put the entire area under heightened security cover. The police have been carrying out searches at different places in Ukkadam based on inputs received during their investigation.

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