The Al-Qaeda’s India operations is headed by a man called Asim Umar referred to as Shaikh Umar and Intelligence Bureau officials confirm that this man is of Indian origin and hence was appointed to head the India opertions that was announced by the Al-Qaeda a month back.
Intelligence Bureau officials had been studying the antecedents of Umar since the launch of the India outfit and his origin has been tracked to Uttar Pradesh. We are confident that he is an Indian national, but we require some more time to probe his exact routes. Intelligence agencies questioned SIMI operatives such as Haider Ali an accused in the Patna blasts and found that they were reporting to the Al-Qaeda and Shaikh Umar was very much part of the organisation. Haider Ali however did not spill out much details on Umar’s nationality, but claimed that his India links were extremely strong.
Since the year 1989, Umar is said to have been in and out of India. He was actively involved with some cadres of the SIMI while in India. However in the year 1995 he decided to permanently shift base to Karachi and studied at the Jamia-Uloom e Islamia a school.
The IB officer says that they had also been monitoring and scrutinising his videos. The manner in which he speaks Urdu is very Indian like and this gave us further clues on his Indian origin. His path to terror was due to Kashmir. He left for Karachi and studied there for some time. His first outfit was the Harkat-eul-Mujahideen and he had vowed to take the battle further against the Indian forces. He then returned to Karachi and began teaching at the Jamia Uloom e Islamia. His fierce thought process and his dedication to the cause is what drew the Al-Qaeda towards him and over the years he became the Sharia council chief of the Al-Qaeda. His job was to preach ideology and ensure that more and more youth are drawn towards the cause of the Al-Qaeda.
Although he was based out of Pakistan and Afghanistan he remained in touch with the cadres of the SIMI in India. The SIMI headed by Safdar Nagori had pledged its support to the Al-Qaeda. All through Umar was the man who kept in touch with the Indian cadres of SIMI. Nagori too speaks about his association with a top Al-Qaeda leader and today the Intelligence Agencies beleive that the man was Umar.
Umar unlike the rest of the Al-Qaeda always took a keen interest in India. Most of this statements were releated to India and the most popular one was, ” why is there no stormm in your ocean.” This statement was directed at India and was seen as an attemppt to provoke the Indian Muslims to rise and join the Al-Qaeda.
His other statement was targetted at Bihar where he asked, ” can’t Bihar produce one Mujahideen. He also made another remark at Uttar Pradesh where he sought to know if there is no mother who can sing a song to her son urging him to become a Mujahideen.
These are particuarly interesting statements since they are related to Bihar and UP which are the strongest dens of the SIMI which is now part of the Al-Qaeda and is helping set up the Indian wing.
The fact that he is of Indian origin is the biggest kept secret. Since the past 10 years, he has been sheltered in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His links with the ISI are quite intact and he has deliberately never shown his face to the media unlike the rest of the Al-Qaeda operatives including Ayman Al- Zawwahiri. This the IB says is a deliberate ploy to avoid the Indian agencies. Several persons questioned in Uttar Pradesh were unable to confirm his origin for the want of a face.
The questioning of Haider Ali and Safdar Nagori held the key to establish the origin of Umar. Both had spoken about the rise of the Al-Qaeda in India and how the outfit was extremely keen on launching operations in India. Both Nagori and Haider Ali tell the IB that they were in touch with a man who spoke Urdu the Indian way and all along he told them that at any cost the caliphate needs to be established and India will play a great role. Both said that the Al-Qaeda had a great potential in India and there were several youth who subscribed to the ideology of the Al-Qaeda and were ready to battle with them. The Al-Qaeda has managed to rope in at least 30 youth from Uttar Pradesh and Bhatkal in Karnataka and each of them have had links with the SIMI.