A ban at last- The IM story


“… Here we are back – the Mujahideen of India – the terrorists on the disbelievers – the radicals of Islam – after our triumphant and successful assault at Jaipur, once again calling you all, who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad to accept Islam and bear witness that there is none to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Accept Islam and save yourselves.

This is just one of the mails that was sent out by the Indian Mujahideen prior to the deadly Gujarat blasts which wrecked havoc. Today the Indian Mujahideen, probably one of India’s deadliest home grown terror outfit has been banned and sanctions slapped by the United States of America. It has today been designated as a foreign terror outfit since it maintains close links with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistan based outfits.

The Indian Mujahideen was designed in a manner to carry out attacks on Indian soil and more importantly all its cadres were of Indian origin. It was a perfect ploy by the ISI to ensure that terror attacks continued unabated in India without a finger being pointed at Pakistan. Today Indian Intelligence agencies and other police wings welcome the decision by the US to designate the IM as a foreign terror outfit. It is an extremely important decision since today the top leadership of the IM is not in India. Riyaz Bhatkal, Yaseen Bhatkal, Amir Reza Khan(only one of Pakistan origin), Abdus Subhan, Assadullah Akthar and a few others are all out of the country. The Indian agencies were finding it extremely difficult to apprehend these persons thanks to international laws and today with the US slapping sanctions, the job becomes easier. There are a large number of the IM operatives who are settled in the Gulf and this move by the US would make it easier to bring them down to India. However a concern that would always remain is regarding some of the cadres who are at Pakistan and no international law is good enough when it comes to dealing with that country, IB officials point out.

The US move has also given Indian agencies another reason to smile about. Although the ISI had been claiming that the IM is an outfit born and brought up in India, the US order also makes it clear that this outfit has direct links with the Lashkar. This only vindicates India’s stand that any act of terror in India has the blessings of Pakistan based outfits.

The Inception: It is a well known fact that the Indian Mujahideen is just an off shoot of the banned Student’s Islamic Movement of India. In fact it could be termed as the radical SIMI. Almost the entire leadership were part of the SIMI at one point in time. Abdus Subhan himself was a magazine editor when he was in SIMI. Riyaz too was connected with the SIMI as an activist before he decided to become part of the core committee of the IM. The first time that the IM came to the limelight was during the court blasts at Uttar Pradesh in 2007. Although a mail was sent out claiming responsibility for the attacks, no one really took the IM seriously. However what followed was a spate of attacks later. The Jaipur bombings of 2008 is when the IM actually made its entry into the big world of terror. A chilling mail which was sent out after the attack is what made everyone sit up and take notice of this outfit.

After this there were a series of attacks and the infamous operation Bangalore Ahmedabad Delhi or Operation BAD was carried out. The mails that were sent out following those attacks only went to show the kind of arrogance that this group operated with. In fact the mails were more of a challenge and the mail during the Ahmedabad blasts was sent out five minutes prior to the blast. Some in the IB says that it is this arrogance which did them in finally and today they find themselves on a very weak footing.

Acts of terror:

Uttar Pradesh court blasts of 2007 November

Jaipur bombing of May 2008

Bangalore serial blasts on July 25 2008

Ahmedabad bombings on July 26 2008

Delhi bombings of 13 September 2008

Pune bombings of 2010

Jama Masjid Attack of 2010

Varanasi bombing of 2011

The 13/7 blasts (yet to be verified by the police)

Bombay serial blasts-2008

Top Leadership:

Amir Reza Khan of Pakistan who is the only non Indian in the outfit is considered to be the founder of the group. Originally from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he was a faithful commander and was later handed over the responsibility of setting up this outfit.

Safdar Nagori is another man associated with this outfit. Although he is credited with establishing the radical SIMI, it is said that larger plan hatched by him was to be part of the IM. However before the outfit could take shape he was arrested.

Riyaz Bhatkal who is still elusive was one of the key members of the organization. Hailing from the coastal Bhatkal town he is said to be one of the first members of the outfit. Today however there is a lurking doubt whether he is alive or not. Although some gangster had claimed to have eliminated him, there is absolutely no confirmation what so ever regarding his death.

Abdus Subhan who was originally a magazine editor in the SIMI became a central figure of the outfit. He is said to have set up the technical cell of the IM which eventually hacked into un secured wifi networks and sent out mails. Although those who knew him say way too much has been made out of his capabilities, Indian agencies believe that he is a crucial character in the outfit. Today Subhan is said to be hiding in Pakistan.

Mansoor Peerbhouy is today under arrest. He however could be credited with setting up the technical wing under the guidance of Subhan. A techie who worked with several reputed companies, he in fact after his arrest gave the police all the answers regarding the manner in which the IM mailing system worked.

The downfall:

Basically what the IM did was irk the police no end. All their mails and communication always took a dig at the police and the slogan was clear, “ catch us if you can.” The police did raise the bar and if one notices the manner in which the IM has been handled in the past two years one could say that they were hunted down. The real turning point was however the Batla House encounter. In a major battle between the Delhi police and some boys alleged to be IM members, it was the police who had the final say. However there is a great deal of controversy surrounding this encounter and many cry foul stating that it was fake. While this was the downfall of the IM some feel that this could be one of the biggest excuses on which they would plot their come back as well.

The restructuring:

This is something that has been worrying agencies no end. There has been a slump for the moment, but the fact that the top leadership is still elusive gives out worrying signals. The recruitment drive as of now is very slow. It is hard to say whether this is the correct picture or is it just a ploy to keep the heat at bay. Very slow movement has been witnessed especially in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi and also Pune. Although there is nothing significant the police are not taking chances. There are still several members who are out straying and they have been coming together and carrying out smaller attacks. In addition to this there are also several intercepts to show that the top leadership is very much in touch with groups such as the Lashkar and are planning a come back. It may not happen anytime soon, but they will surely make an attempt, a police officer said.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

5 thoughts on “A ban at last- The IM story”

  1. Good chronological narrative Vicky with due addition by Tina in her comment to add the Mumbai 2008 attacks too. Be that as it may, but the growth of IM was basically fed and nourished by the lacuna with which our responsible agencies and the Home Ministry attended to it. It was know from day one that it was a break away faction of SIMI. It was a known fact that they were the fanatical face of SIMI. It was a know fact that they were behind the first blast in UP in 2007, being their first assignment. It was a known fact that they had widespread support from other Islamic fanatic terrorist groups and soft Islamic groups too within the country. It was a known fact that they had widespread base in South Karnataka and North Kerala. It is a known fact that Bhatkal in Karnataka and Malappuram in Kerala are hubs of IM cadres from where they undertake arms training. It is a known fact that Bhatkal is a place where no police dare go even today in spite of having the two dreaded Bhatkal brothers flushed out of the place. It is a fact that no police does serious inquiries in places like Ponnani, Manjeri, Perinthalmanna and Tirur areas where not only IM, but other radical outfits like the NDF, PFI, SFDP, PDP thrive, train and discourse publicly.

    That we had to wait for a US sanction on IM to initiate any sort of action is the most ridiculous. Our effeminate Home Minister has fractured the image of our Country internationally. It was all the time known that Gulf countries harbored all these criminals, had their base there, had their monetary control there and was their heavenly abode. While there existed a reciprocral extradition treaty with countries like the UAE, I have not ever heard of any movement by our IB to pick these guys up from the UAE, which is fairly easy considering the size of the country. All these radical terror outfits owe their economical and social sustenance Kerala / Karnataka / Andhra Gulf diaspora. When a common man is aware of this, where has the relevant agencies been?

    While it is less said the better, the ban on IM, however soft it is, hopefully brings a sigh of relief to us common citizens though the huge thanks goes to the USA.

    Trust the bloody government awakes from its slumber and being to act and act fast before the entire IM operatives disappear from the scene and reside in the Gulf countries in leisure.

    Thanks Vicky, as usual for the narrative.

Post your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.