In the past one and half years, the nation witnessed three attacks-Varanasi, 13/7 and theDelhiblasts. For quite sometime now the investigators have been clueless about the attackers and today gradually small leads are trickling in. Investigators are closing in on the Bullet 313, a group within the Indian Mujahideen which could have carried these attacks.
Post 13/7, the name of the Bullet 313 had come up very briefly. The name of this outfit was picked up based on intercepts and the interrogation of a couple of Indian Mujahideen operatives who are in custody in various parts of the country.
The Indian Mujahideen story is nothing new and everyone is aware of how the group had risen and also fallen. However since the past two years there have been very slow attempts to revive the outfit and the group has been working on some small level operators who have come together to form the Bullet 313. A name that is inspired from the Al-Qaeda’s 313 brigade, this group was basically created to carry out attacks inIndiaunder a new banner. Earlier there were communications which did indicate that the IM was planning something on the terror front. However this time around there was no mention of the name of this new outfit and the communication between the operatives on email or phone was nil. This had made investigators run around in circles and this only helped these operatives carry out their business.
Today the Bullet 313 is a force that is growing and could turn into a big headache if not curbed. It was carefully set up and the name of the new outfit was intentionally not revealed. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that they wanted a slight change in their strategy and did not want too much publicity about the new name since they wanted to set up a strong outfit. This outfit was set up one year back and it was decided that all new operations on Indian soil shall be undertaken in this name.
Take the interrogation of the various IM operatives in the country which were conducted after theVaranasiblasts. The investigators did realise after theVaranasiblasts that this had marked the return of the Indian Mujahideen, but the newer pattern that was being used was something that had foxed them.
Under the Bullet 313 a lot of usual traits of the IM were not witnessed. There plans were not extensive and the operations were on a smaller scale. People chosen for the job had no history in police records and the use of technology was almost zero. Most importantly the brazen mails were also missing after the attacks. Fora quite sometime the police had no clue about this group and who had even carried out the attack. Then came the 13/7 blast which was a slightly bigger operation compared to theVaranasiattack. Then came theDelhiblast which in fact for the first time in the three attacks showed signs that it was an IM like operation. A mail was sent out, but the intention was more to confuse the investigators leading them to believe it was the Harkat-ul-Jihadi which had carried out the blast.
By the time theDelhiblast occurred the police had a fair idea as to who exactly were carrying out these attacks. The mail after theDelhiattack was an intentional ploy to distract the investigators.
As per the preliminary investigation reports pertaining to all the three blasts mentioned above, the new group Bullet 313 was set up inDelhiitself. A couple of disgruntled youth in the Old city ofDelhihad set this up. Today the Bullet 313 has its strong wings in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. It is on a much smaller scale compared to the IM, but if left alone could grow into another headache. Moreover the formation of the Bullet 313 is keeping in tandem the tradition of creating new names every time a ban is round the corner. The Students Islamic Movement of India had just before the ban formed a radical side to it which later went on to become the Indian Mujahideen. The case of the IM is the same. After the crack down and just when a ban was round the corner it formed the Bullet 313. Terror groups do this very often to keep the heat off themselves. Today the Bullet 313 has approximately 500 members and the entire network works on a word to mouth. As mentioned earlier the use of communication even through phones is very minimal. They have also relied very less on the use of foreign funds and kept the number of cadres and modules also to a bear minimal. The basic idea was not to carry out large scale attacks, but to keep causing an irritation to the establishment with smaller attacks. They also did realise that carrying out very large attacks needed major planning and there was every chance of getting busted if they did so. Smaller attacks needed a maximum of four persons and they could have communicated personally and carried out the attack and this exactly is what we are witnessing today.
Over the past couple of months the police have been interrogating several operatives of the IM and each of them has spoken about how the outfit has been trying to regroup. Be it Danish Riyaz or Salman alias Chotu each one has been telling the police that some youth had been planning on staging a come back. However none of them even spoke about the name of the outfit which ultimately turned out to be the Bullet 313. Riyaz even went up to the extent of telling the police that he had recruited around 30 new cadres for the outfit. However Riyaz also went on to confuse the investigators by saying that certain attempts to regroup had been made, but due to the lack of funds they had to shelve the plans. The police were misled by this statement of Riyaz and this proved fatal since what followed wasVaranasi, 13/7 andDelhi.