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Rameshwaram cafe explosion: Karnataka minister says BJP employee was arrested, but NIA advises against believing unconfirmed news reports

Image credit: additional resources.

NEW DELHI: On Friday, Dinesh Gundu Rao, the health minister for Karnataka, announced that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) employee had been taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in relation to the Rameshwaram Cafe blast.

NIA, however, made no mention of any such material in its press release and issued a warning against the dissemination of unconfirmed news reports.

The NIA said in a statement that as part of the investigation into the March 1 Rameshwaram Cafe Blast at ITPL Road in Bengaluru, it has identified Abdul Matheen Taahaa as a co-conspirator and one Mussavir Hussain Shazib as the accused IED blaster. Both individuals reside in Thirthahalli in the Shivamogga district.

"NIA has been calling and questioning all of the acquaintances, including college and school classmates of the accused individuals who have been arrested and absconding, in order to obtain information and evidence for the investigation. Since this is a terror occurrence, knowing the identities of the witnesses could jeopardize their summons in addition to impeding the investigation, according to the NIA.

The Karnataka health minister posted on X that the BJP employee was arrested in Thirthahalli, in the Shimoga district.

"BJP leader has been taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Rameswaram Cafe blast case," he wrote in his post. Now if our government is to blame for the explosion, what would the state's saffron buds say? Given that an NIA-arrested BJP leader, doesn't this imply that the party is complicit in the Rameswaram cafe explosion? Does this prove beyond a doubt that the BJP's saffron terrorism, which it is waging in the state under the guise of religious protection, is causing major problems? "What response does this receive from the central BJP, which is forcing RSS doctrines on the nation?" he continued.

Muzammil Shareef, the blast's alleged primary mastermind, was already detained by the NIA, which assumed responsibility for the probe on March 13. Raids in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka were preceded by Shareef's arrest.

Mussavir Shazeeb Hussain, the main suspect, and Abdul Matheen Taha, a co-conspirator, have not yet been taken into custody. An IED was used in the March 1 explosion at the restaurant on ITPL road in Bengaluru's Brookefield neighborhood, injuring patrons as well as employees and causing property damage.