With the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, there is a vacancy in the Indian Mujahideen for the top post. Officials of the Indian Intelligence Bureau and the National Investigation Agency tell rediff.com that the post has fallen vacant, but it is just a matter of time before they fill it up.
Currently there are five men who are in contention for the top post of India’s most dreaded terrorist outfit, the Indian Mujahideen. They are Shahnawaz Alam, Muhammad Sajid Bada, Alamzeb Afridi, Fayaz Kagzai and Ariz Khan. All these operatives were in close contact with Yasin Bhatkal and have very often reached right up to the top cadres settled in Pakistan. Carrying on with the operations may not be a problem for them as they are well versed with the set up and also the modus operandi. An IB official told rediff.com that all these six men were part of the operational set up and hence were in the know of things. Moreover they always had one on one interactions with Yasin Bhatkal which itself shows that they were part of the inner ring of the Indian Mujahideen.
The top command structure would remain the same, officers say. The prime financer would continue to be Amir Reza Khan who is now based in Pakistan. Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal would continue to oversee operations from Pakistan.
According to officials who have been studying the pattern of the Indian Mujahideen, the likely choice would be Alamzeb Afridi. He was in charge of the Gujarat module and those handling this state are always preferred by the top leadership of the IM. Moreover he has been with the outfit since its inception. He went off the radar in the year 2009 and since then has been un-traceable. Intelligence Bureau officials say he could well be in India and has not crossed over to either Pakistan or Gulf. There is a good chance that he may be roped in to take over from Yasin Bhatkal.
Muhammad Sajid Bada is the next choice. He was extremely close to Yasin Bhatkal and knew everything about him. They interacted on a regular basis and were most of the time with each other. He had initially played a role in setting up modules in Azamgarh, but played a major role in the institution of the Darabanga module in Bihar along with Yasin. He is originally from Azamgarh and till date has been absconding and out of the radar.
Fayaz Kagzai is yet another key operative. Although a very big man in the set up, the chances of him being made the leader are very less. He is currently in Saudi Arabia and according to sources his extradition could take place any time soon. He was the middle man between the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Indian Mujahideen in Saudi Arabia and had even helped Abu Jundal. He was also Yasin’s point man in Saudi Arabia and with each others help they established a perfect network between the two countries which helped in both finances and recruitments.
Dr Shahnawaz Alam was one of the members of the Delhi module. His name had cropped up during the Batla House encounter. Hailing from Azamgarh he is said to have played a crucial role in the Delhi operations. Although he is considered to be big in the set up, his chances of becoming leader is less since his reach is not that good when compared to the rest of the operatives.
Ariz Khan, if not made the leader of the outfit could well take up the second position in the Indian Mujahideen. Going by the alias Juaid, this resident of Azamgarh was close to the top leadership of the IM. His name has cropped up in several blasts ranging from Delhi to Hyderabad.