It has been nearly a week since the gangster, Chota Rajan made a claim that his men had shot down the notorious Riyaz Bhatkal. The moment this claim was made, Indian agencies wrote to Pakistan seeking details regarding his death, but till date there has been no confirmation from that end.
This brings out the big question is whether Bhatkal is really dead. Another question that comes to mind is whether Pakistan will confirm whether he is dead or alive since they have always maintained that he is not in their country.
There are two things which are attached to the news regarding the death of Riyaz Bhatkal. One it could be part of a larger operation to track his whereabouts yet again since when such news breaks out family members tend to make calls to confirm the news and this is used as a means to track down the man himself. The second issue is whether Pakistan can afford the death of this man since a huge project known as the Karachi Project falls a great deal upon his shoulders.
Sources tell rediff.com that this is a tricky case and the last time the IB managed to track down the details regarding Bhatkal, he was living at an area called as Gulshan-e-Iqbal. This is a high profile locality and the ISI normally tends to shelter “very high profile persons” such as the likes of Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and the Bhatkal brothers in this area. The fact that the ISI ordered him to stay in this area itself is an indication that they wanted him to be under their care. This particular area is a high security zone and is under the constant monitoring of security forces and hence it becomes very difficult to carry out such an operation. Moreover the ISI has been protecting Bhatkal a great deal since they have a lot of value out of him to carry out the huge Karachi project which has also been mentioned on a couple of occasions by David Headley.
Riyaz Bhatkal has grown a great deal in the ranks over the past couple of years. Although there have been many such operatives like him, he has shown them the desired results and has managed to undertake a series of blasts and also set up one of India’s deadliest terrorist organizations, the Indian Mujahideen. Hence when the ISI is in the midst of such extensive planning to carry out more home grown terror strikes on Indian soil, the question always remains whether they would want to do away with Riyaz Bhatkal.
Sources in the Intelligence bureau point out that they would need more time and act on their own sources to confirm this news. Pakistan will not give us the information since they have always denied his existence in that country. Whether some gangsters can undertake such an operation in a high profile zone in Karachi is a matter which needs to be seen since we have always known that Bhatkal enjoys high security from the ISI.
If at all Bhatkal is really dead then it is once again a worrisome situation for India. Terrorism in India works on a tit for tat mode more than an ideologically driven one. The Indian Mujahideen has been trying to re-group and the Varanasi blasts was a pre-cursor to that. The death of such an important personality in the IM will not be taken lightly and the cadres could already planning a series of attacks to avenge this. This happened in the case of Shahid Bilal whose death led to a series of attacks by the Indian Mujahideen. The IB says that if at all Bhatkal is dead then the force would surely be demoralized. However it would be temporary in nature since the IM has shown in the past that it is aggressive by nature and they tend to retaliate only to show that they are never down and out.