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Coimbatore LPG cylinder explosion suspect linked to Zahran Hashim

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The 25-year-old man who was killed in a car explosion in front of a temple in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu Sunday was questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2019 for his ties to a radical network related to Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka.

The death of Jameesha Mubin caused by an LPG cylinder blast on board a car has now sparked an investigation into a possible terror plot angle. Tamil Nadu Director General of Police C. Sylendra Babu hasn’t ruled out a terror plot despite the fact that the police are keeping quiet because the evidence surrounding the blast is still hazy. According to Babu, they are looking into every possibility because the materials taken from his home “may have been meant for a future plan.”

Was the explosion an unsuccessful attack on the temple? “Except for the location where it occurred, before the temple, there is no proof to support this claim right now,” a police officer probing the case said.

When Mubin was driving his car on Sunday at around 4 am with the two LPG cylinders and other materials, including nails, it exploded. After the police traced more details about Mubin, it had raised suspicions because the explosion occurred near a temple. Later, authorities raided Mubin’s home and discovered explosive components like potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, sulphur, and charcoal.

Mubin was “examined” by NIA in 2019, according to a source. “He was one among the five people we had to examine in 2019 since he had been attending Bayan classes at a Coimbatore mosque of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ). These classes were closely related to Mohammed Azarudeen, who had direct contact with Zahran Hashim, the mastermind and the leader of the suicide bombers in Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka,” the source said.

Azarudeen was arrested on multiple charges after the Sri Lankan’s serial blasts for his alleged role in recruiting many youth from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He was reported to have played a significant role in the Islamic State group’s Tamil Nadu division.

A CCTV footage retrieved from a building near Mubin’s house, had visuals from Saturday night. The video shows four men, reportedly Mubin too among them, lugging a large object out of his Ukkadam house. It was captured on camera at 11.25 pm. While the police are now looking for the three other people seen in the footage, investigators assume that the bulky object carried by the four of them, wrapped in a white bag, was a gas cylinder that exploded. One of the two LPG cylinders in the car is thought to have caused the explosion on Sunday morning.

According to an investigator with the Tamil Nadu Police, Mubin has never had a case filed against him except for an NIA investigation into his involvement in TNTJ prayer meets. “After the explosion, we gathered CCTV footage to identify the car’s origin, which led to his home and the confiscation of things including black powder, potassium nitrate, and matchboxes. Although Mubin was married, he and his wife, deaf and dumb, lived apart. Seven people who had contact with Mubin in the recent days by phone and in person are being questioned now,” added the investigator.

The body of Mubin, which was collected from the scene, was unrecognisable, and the car still had one unexploded commercial cylinder weighing 35 kg.

While six teams are working to find additional information about Mubin, including people who met him at his home, locations he visited in the recent past, and his social media activities, the Tamil Nadu Police are being cautious when attributing a terror plot.

After BJP state President K Annamalai tweeted Sunday night that the Coimbatore cylinder blast is no longer a “cylinder blast,” the incident also takes on a political colour.

“It’s a clear cut terror act with ISIS links. Will Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu come out in the open and accept this? Tamil Nadu government is hiding the info for 12 hours now. Is this not a clear failure of the state intelligence machinery and DMK government?” Annamalai asked.

The Indian Express

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Russian Embassy issues statement on controversial night event in Unawatuna

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The Russian Embassy in Colombo has issued a statement condemning all forms of racial discrimination and nationalism in response to the recent controversy surrounding a planned night event in Unawatuna.

The statement clarified that the event, organized with a “dress-code: white” theme, was planned by a group of entrepreneurs.

The Embassy acknowledged that, according to unconfirmed data, the main promoter and the bar owners who agreed to host the party have been identified as Russian citizens.

However, amidst confusion and concerns over entry conditions, the organizers issued apologies, clarifying that their intentions were not to cause harm, and subsequently called off the event.

The Russian Embassy emphasized Russia’s firm stance against such injustices and expressed a commitment to combating them.

Additionally, the embassy urged all Russian citizens visiting or residing in Sri Lanka to strictly adhere to the country’s laws and respect local customs.

The statement aimed to address the controversy and reinforce the importance of promoting inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.


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TM Dilshan granted Australian citizenship

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Former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan has been granted Australian citizenship, confirmed by Australian MP Jason Wood in a social media post.

Dilshan, renowned for his explosive batting style, played a pivotal role in numerous victories for the Sri Lankan cricket team throughout his career. 

The 47-year-old’s acquisition of Australian citizenship marks a new chapter in his life post-retirement from professional cricket.

“Today’s citizenship ceremony was made even more special with the attendance of Tillakaratne Dilshan, a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team.

“Dilshan is regarded as the best Sri Lankan player in run-chases in ODI history. 

He also holds the record for being the top run-scorer in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup with 500 runs and scored a century against England in the semi-final. 

Additionally, he was part of the Sri Lankan team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20,” posted MP Jason Wood on social media.

MP Jason Wood, welcoming Dilshan as a new Australian citizen and local resident, expressed hope that the veteran would consider joining a local team.

“It was great to hear that his daughter Resandi is following in her father’s footsteps,” he added.

Tillakaratne Dilshan amassed over 10,000 runs from 330 ODIs since his one-day international debut in 1999 against Zimbabwe. 

His Test career spanned 87 matches, during which he accumulated 5492 runs, including a high-score of 193. 

In 80 T20I matches, Dilshan made 1889 runs, featuring one century and 13 half-centuries.

Renowned for his unorthodox style, including the innovative scoop shot, Dilshan proved to be an extremely effective and versatile batsman across formats throughout his career.

Source: ABP News Bureau

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Chinese woman arrested for Financial Fraud

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A 52-year-old Chinese women has been arrested by the police for her alleged involvement in financial fraud amounting to nearly Rs. 8.4 million.

The female suspect was apprehended in the Kollupitiya police division on Saturday, following investigations initiated based on a complaint received by the Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau on January 31.

According to the police, the arrested individual had reportedly obtained Rs. 8.4 million in total from multiple persons. 

She allegedly claimed that the funds were for a business venture and assured the amount would be returned.

The Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau is conducting further investigations into the case to gather more details about the nature of the fraud and the individuals affected by it. 

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