Terrorists targeting tech hub

The “symbols and temples” of India’s “knowledge society” are being targeted by terrorists, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday in Hyderabad in south India. Singh was referring to the attack last week by a gunman at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore.

The IISc is one of the country’s more prestigious educational and research institutions. It does research and development work for a number of multinational and local technology companies, and some of its alumnus occupy key positions in the country’s outsourcing industry.

“I am confident that all our knowledge workers will close ranks and join the struggle to make India a great nation, a humane and modern nation and a knowledge power,” said Singh in his inaugural address Tuesday at the 93rd Indian Science Congress in Hyderabad.

Also on Tuesday, police in Bangalore arrested Abdul Rehman, who they said has links with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) a terrorist group that is demanding independence for Kashmir, part of which is currently a state within the Indian federation.

Bangalore Police Commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh told reporters Tuesday that according to information available with the police the person arrested could be the head of LeT operations in the south of India, and may have been behind the attack at the IISc.

An attack by a gunman on Dec. 28 at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore has sent shockwaves through the city’s large outsourcing industry. One person was killed and four others were injured in the attack. The persons were part of large group of academics that were coming out of a conference held in the auditorium of the IISc, when the gunman attacked.

Although the Bangalore police did not initially confirm that the attack was by terrorists, the discovery of hand grenades and a Kalashnikov rifle has led the police to believe that the it was indeed a terrorist attack. The police have put the city on high alert from Dec. 28 and asked outsourcing companies to strengthen security. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Outsourcing companies have stepped up security at their facilities in Bangalore as it is believed that the city’s booming outsourcing industry may be the target of a new wave of terror attacks planned.

Until the IISc attack, the target of the terrorists had been mainly political, including the country’s parliament.

On Dec. 26 police in Delhi arrested three suspected terrorists who were planning to attack software parks in Bangalore and Hyderabad besides other targets, the police said. Since then security measures were tightened at some of the outsourcing companies in Bangalore including Wipro Ltd. and Infosys Technologies Ltd. Most of these companies already have electronic surveillance systems and physical checks on movement of people and vehicles in their premises.

Police have suspected since early last year that terrorists may go for economic targets, particularly the country’s high-profile outsourcing industry.

Documents seized from three members of the LeT, who were killed in an encounter with the police in March, revealed that they planned to carry out suicide attacks on some software companies in Bangalore, Karnal Singh, joint commissioner of police in Delhi told reporters in March.

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