A year has gone by since the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, the key Indian Mujahideen man. His arrest was quickly followed up with the arrests of close aides Assadullah Akthar, Tehsin Akthar and Waqas Ahmed. In short the top four who ran the Indian Mujahideen were all rounded off and this led to a major vaccum in the outfit which carried out blasts at ease on Indian soil.
The question is how much has really changed since the arrest of these men? The Indian agencies without a doubt have done a spectacular job in breaking the Indian Mujahideen, but the question is, whether it is time to relax?
Yasin and his accomplices have revealed to the investigators that the Indian Mujahideen may be down following their arrests, but the organization will rise once again and there is a second rung of leadership which will emerge. The IM has in the past one year intentionally distanced itself from the ISI claiming that the Pakistan spy agency had a personal vedetta and was not adhering to a cause.
Officials say that the second rung leadership of the IM is very much active and with the likes of Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Abdus Subhan still out in the open anything could happen.
At the moment the IM is on auto pilot mode. The outfit is not focusing on small time attacks on Indian soil. They have decided to pursue a global agenda which includes supporting the ISIS and the Tehrik-e-Taliban. The IM has decided that it would operate with the ISIS and the TT under the name of Ansar-ul-Tawhid. This particular outfit has been recruiting Indian Muslims for the TT and the ISIS and has a deeep rooted network. In fact it is headed by a Bhatkal based operative known as Sultan Ahmed Armar who is said to be holed up in North Wazirstan.
This no doubt is setting the global tone for the IM which was first given birth to as a home grown outfit. For Pakistan the Indian agenda is more important when compared to a global one. For the Indian agenda there is the SIMI which has shown signs of resurgence since the arrest of Yasin and his men. The Bodhgaya and the Patna blasts are signs of the outfit rising yet again.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that the SIMI can be more dangerous when compared to the IM. The IM was driven by a set of people who believed in a war like situation. The SIMI on the other hand is ideologically driven and when an organization treads this line, it becomes extremely dangerous in nature. The SIMI for now has decided to focus plainly on India and not carry out an ambitious global plan like the IM. The SIMI will continue to focus on atrocities against the Indian Muslims and this they feel will help them spruce up the recruitments into their outfit.
However one must understand that the SIMI is split into two today. There is a radical faction of this outfit which is headed by Safdar Nagori who is currently lodged in a Gujarat jail. His anti Modi propaganda has appealed to his followers and they would continue to use this as an excuse to carry out strikes. The SIMI had set its eyes against the BJP ever since it was banned by them when L K Advani was the Home Minister.
With the IM shifting focus out of India, the SIMI has entered to fill up this vaccum. The SIMI however will focus mainly in Northern India as it has a greater support base out there. In the days to come the Intelligence agencies say that the SIMI cadres will try and up the ante in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan where the outfit has a sizeable number of cadres.
The SIMI would however try and cover parts of South India as well. Their strongest network is in Kerala and there are a good number of radicals in that state who welcome the SIMI with open arms. Let us not forget that the first of the major meetings of the SIMI before it split into a radical outfit was held at a camp in Wagamon in Kerala.