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Indian army officer arrested over deadly bombing

Posted by jytmkh on November 5, 2008

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – An army officer was arrested on Wednesday in connection with bomb blasts in two western towns that killed five people and were blamed on a Hindu militant group, a government lawyer said.

Officers from the anti-terrorism squad in Mumbai questioned lieutenant-colonel Srikant Purohit, a Hindu, for days before finally arresting him.

“He was arrested this morning and is being produced in court,” said Ajay Misar, a government lawyer acting in the case.

The officer is accused of helping Hindu militants with bomb-making and other logistics in the attack in the Muslim-dominated towns of Malegaon and Modasa in September.

A retired soldier was also questioned in the case, which has embarrassed the army.

Three other people, all Hindus, had already been arrested in connection with the Sept. 29 attacks.

For years, bomb attacks in India have mostly been blamed on Islamist militants. Even attacks on mosques were often blamed on Islamists seeking to spark communal tensions between India’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims.

Muslim leaders have accused authorities of conducting a witch hunt and reinforcing stereotypes about their community after dozens of Muslims were detained following a string of bomb attacks across the country this year.

In August, two suspected Hindu militant fundamentalists died while trying to build a bomb in the northern town of Kanpur.

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