Exploring the Important Role Bhatkal Plays Ahead of Karnataka Elections


Bhatkal, a small town in the far-flung state of Karnataka, has been garnering significant attention in news circles ahead of the state’s upcoming elections. This is mainly attributed to the presence of Indian Mujahideen’s co-founder, Yasin Bhatkal, who was born and raised in this fishing hub.

Yasin Bhatkal is considered as one of the major figures behind several high-profile bombings in India, including the 2008 Delhi bombings, 2006 Mumbai train bombings, 2008 Ahmedabad bombings and the 2010 Varanasi bombing. Bhatkal was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar after the Hyderabad blasts in 2013, and convicted in 2016 and is currently lodged in Tihar jail.

The criminal activities of Yasin Bhatkal has put a spotlight on what was once an innocuous fishing hub. Bhatkal didn’t see much violence after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, but it did witness communal riots in 1993, which claimed 19 lives, and several political killings over the years. Over the next several years, the Hindutva movement made significant inroads in the town, while Muslim youth who returned from Gulf nations ended up joining a resistance movement.

As the country awaits the results of the upcoming state elections in Karnataka, all eyes are on Bhatkal and its murky politics shaped by the presence of Yasin Bhatkal.

It is pertinent to note the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organisation was co-founded by Yasin Bhatkal, who was born and raised in the same town. While Bhatkal was captured in 2013, the Indian Mujahideen continues to remain active in several parts of India. So far, the Indian government has done comparatively little to curb its activities.