Deadly nexus: ISI-underworld-naxals

The arrest of four persons from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh a couple of days back has thrown light on the alleged links between the ISI and the naxal movement in India.

Both security agencies as well as the intelligence bureau have repeatedly warned to keep a watch on the activities of both the naxals and also terrorist groups from Pakistan. M L Kumawat, former Chief of the Border Security Force had told in an earlier interaction that the naxals have a single point agenda and that was to derail democracy in India. To attain this they can go to any lengths and even team up with terror groups for this purpose.

Information that has been gathered by the Intelligence Bureau so far would go on to suggest exactly this. IB sources told that the move to team up with the naxal movement started around a year back. The ISI jumped to seize such an opportunity and decided the entire operation would be logistics vs arms.

The first of the attempts was made by the ISI when it sent in Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Ummer Madani into India to start the process of teaming up with the naxals. Madani who is half a century old was one of the financers working for the Lashkar. He was sent in from Pakistan via Nepal in the month of May 2009 to strike a deal with the naxals.

He was however arrested by the Delhi police and during his very long interrogation this is what he had to say. I was told to meet with the Lashkar handlers in India and hand over money to them. This money was specifically supposed to be passed on some of the naxal leaders. I was to hold a series of meetings with my handlers in India and through them make contact with some naxal leaders. I had been specifically instructed by my higher ups to lure the naxals with money and weapons and seek logistic support in exchange. There were some attempts made before I could come into the picture but they failed and hence I was asked to do the needful.

However before Madani could complete his task, he was arrested that same year in the month of June by the Delhi police, which prompted the Lashakar to send Yusuf Salim two months later into India.

Yusuf Salim who was picked up in Kashmir by security forces was interrogated both the police and the intelligence bureau. During his interrogation, he confesses to being an operative of the Lashkar. Salim who was in possession of a Pakistani passport told his interrogators that he was on his way to Delhi where he was meet with a couple of persons who in turn would take him up to some naxal leaders. He however makes it clear to the police that the Lashkar has been sending feelers, but the deal with the naxals was not struck as yet. He too narrated the exact story that Madani did and said that his specific brief was to offer arms and finances in return for logistic support.

The recent arrest of Altaf too goes on to prove the same point. Altaf who was a member of the D gang reporting to Chota Shakeel during his interrogation too has said that they were targeting the naxal movement. However unlike the others, he did manage to get in touch with a sympathizer of the movement and was all set to hand over Rs 25 lakh in cash before he was picked up two days back by the Cottonpet police in Bangalore.

The IB says that the Lashkar and the ISI are desperate for logistic support. They believe that the naxals enjoy a great deal of local support which in turn makes their operations a success. The naxals in turn are looking for more sophisticated arms and finances which is drying out thanks to increased movement of security forces in their bastions.

In addition to this the Lashkar is also seeking help of the naxals to set up more sleeper cells. They have already identified areas such as Nanded, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to set up more such cells.

The IB says that in the days to come, each and every terrorist who infiltrates into India will come in with the sole purpose of striking deals with the naxals. Security forces have to be on the look out or else this problem could go from bad to worse.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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