Yaseen Bhatkal: Mastermind of Pune blasts


Yaseen Bhatkal, a distant relative of Indian Mujhahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal, has been named the mastermind of the Pune blast by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad.

A blast in German bakery, one of the city’s most popular eateries, had left 17 people dead and many more injured on February 13.

Yaseen hails from the coastal town of Bhatkal in Karnataka and has been involved in terror activities since 1998, say sources in the Intelligence Bureau. Surprisingly, no major cases are registered against him, and police officials have very little information.

Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence had been expanding its network in the communally sensitive town of Bhatkal, and in 1998, it held an underground meeting in the town. Yaseen, along with Riyaz and Iqbal, attended the meeting that probably changed his life

Taking advantage of the simmering communal tension in the area, the ISI set up one of its biggest modules in India in Bhatkal, and Yaseen was indoctrinated into the spy agency’s programme.

Yaseen is a civil engineer and had worked in Dubai. He, along with Riyaz and Iqbal, had purchased a plot in Chickmagalur in Karnataka. Yaseen had originally planned to set up a sports academy on it, but the plot was used to further the IM’s activities, say the police.

Yaseen was instructed to remain in Karnataka and maintain a low-profile; that’s why he steered clear of landing in any trouble with the police or intelligence agencies.

Between 1998 and 2006, he focused largely on setting up terror modules in Bhatkal and other parts of Karnataka. His name had cropped up briefly during the probe into the Ahmedabad serial blasts, but the police never managed to get much information.

While Riyaz and Iqbal set up terror modules across India and helped carry out the blasts in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Delhi , Yaseen also set up similar modules and carried on recruitment for the IM.

After Operation BAD (Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Delhi), Riyaz and Iqbal were forced to flee to Pakistan, and Yaseen finally came to the forefront of the IM’s terror operations.

Yaseen used terror modules in Karnataka to carry out the strike in Pune, believe IB officials, and add that he probably set up a terror camp at Chickmagalur.

Yaseen’s role in the terror strike was revealed by Salman Ansari, an IM operative who was arrested by the police while he was trying to sneak into Nepal.

When Ansari called up Riyaz to ‘congratulate’ him for the Pune blast, he was told that the terror strike had been planned by Yaseen.

The police are also probing the role played by Abdul Sami, an accused in the Bengaluru blasts, who had visited Pune a couple of times before the blast.

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India’s most wanted Naxal leaders


The brutal killing of 75 Central Reserve Police Force troopers and a Chhattisgarh head constable in the Naxalite-infested Dantewada district on Tuesday morning is a stark reminder of the murderous power that the Maoist terrorists wield today.

The Union home ministry has prepared a dossier with the help of police officers in Naxalite-affected states and the Intelligence Bureau, which identifies top Naxalite terrorists. While they have gathered some information about these dreaded outlaws, they are yet to put a face to most of them.

Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy

General secretary of the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Laxman Rao is said to have lived in the jungles for decades. According to security agencies, the 60-year-old Naxal terror leader is never stationary, and often changes hideouts in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to avoid capture.

His tact, grasp of Maoist ideology and planning has earned him the rank of supreme commander of the movement and control of Naxal armies in over 15 states.

Born in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district, Rao is a science graduate and has a degree in education as well.

After the death of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, the founder of the Peoples’ War Group, the main Naxal group in the 1980s, school teacher Rao took charge. Intelligence agencies say he has trains cadres in guerrilla warfare; he is also the final word on Naxal strategy.

Mallojula Koteswar Rao

Koteshwar Rao has given more media interviews in recent months than most ministers and movie stars have.

There has been speculation that Rao was injured in a recent police encounter in West Bengal, a state where he controls the Naxal terror forces, but the Naxals have denied this in an unusual faxed statement to the media.

Rao — who is called Kishenji by his cadres — is yet another Naxal leader who hails from Andhra Pradesh.

Born in Pedapalli village, Karimnagar district, the plight of farmers in his region is said to have driven him to Naxalism.

Rao — who has a degree in science — is believed to have worked in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh before he was sent to West Bengal where he revived the dying Naxalite movement. He is said to live in the jungles of Lalgarh, emerging usually to grant media interviews.

Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand

Sudarshan began fighting for Telangana’s farmers before he gravitated to the Naxalite movement. Bureau secretary of the CPI-Maoist’s central region he has been a Naxalite for nearly 30 years.

Intelligence Bureau sources believe he is in charge of Naxal operations in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, two important Naxal states. Sudarshan is particularly influential in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada area and that is why security agencies believe Tuesday’s massacre could not have occurred without his intervention.

Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad

Is the Naxalite spokesperson, one of the movement’s senior-most leaders, in police custody?

His mother believes so as do Naxalite cadres who say Azad went missing some weeks ago en route to a meeting with other Naxal leaders.

An alumnus of the prestigious Regional Engineering College in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, Cherukuri did his master’s in technology before leading the Radical Students Union during the Emergency.

He went underground thereafter, and is one of India’s most wanted men. Or is Azad no longer most wanted?

Prashanth Bose alias Kajal alias Mahesh

Bose — a rare Bengali in the Andhraite-dominated Naxal leadership — is the Naxalites’s international face.

Bose, whose name is said to have cropped up several times during the interrogation of Naxalite ideologue Kobad Ghandy, interacts with Nepal’s Maoist leaders.

Nambala Keshavarao alias Ganganna alias Basavaraj

Not much information is available on this Naxal who is believed to be 54 years old and a native of Srikulam district in Andhra Pradesh.

Mallajula Venugopal alias Bhupathi

This native of Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district shuttles between Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and is Lalgarh Naxal M Koteswar Rao’s younger brother.

Balraj alias BR

BR is in charge of the Naxal publications which are printed in Bihar.

Andhra’s ‘Red’ hot bed


The dossier on Naxalites put out by the Union home ministry has several names of most wanted Naxalites in it and 99 per cent of the leaders in that list are from Andhra Pradesh, indicating how strong movement is in this part of southern India Vicky Nanjappa reports.

Ganapathy, Koteshwar Rao or Sudarshan, who hold important posts in the Maoist movement, all hail from Andhra Pradesh, and are primarily considered to be the men who have strengthened the movement.

It is largely believed that the Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh has almost ended and the Greyhounds — a special squad set up by the Andhra Pradesh government — has neutralised them to a large extent. However, with the re-birth of the Telangana movement a couple of months back, security forces see a major danger — the return of the Naxal movement in the state.

The fact remains that the Naxal movement became strongest during the Telangana movement, almost 60 years back, and with the issue on a boil once again, security agencies do not rule out a Naxal resurgence again in Andhra Pradesh.

Each of the leaders in the most wanted list has had an affiliation with the Telangana movement prior to taking the Red route.

There are two versions to the story of emergence of the Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh. A section claims that the birth of the movement originally took place when people were fed up of the atrocities of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

A group of people came together to protest these acts, and finally, took up violent means to counter the Nizam and safeguard the people.

However, the most common version that is quoted is the affiliation of the Naxal movement to Telangana movement, which was an off shoot of the poor living conditions and the barbaric zamindari rule in these regions.

Most of the leaders who now form a part of the Naxal movement were initially part of the Radical Students Union, and later the Telangana Sangharsha Samithi.

Most of the leaders who belonged to these movements then moved into the Naxal movement, and from there they started to take up larger issues such as farmers’ problems, while also demanding a separate Telangana state.

Sympathisers of the movement say that the Andhra government has always been hostile towards the problems of the farmers. The police force always suppressed the farmers when they tried raising their voice for better living conditions. The ruling class of Andhra Pradesh was always accused of using the political system to their advantage.

The Naxal movement became extremely popular in Andhra, since at that time, the violence was very limited in nature. The movement was considered to be the strongest in Adilabad, Warangal, Khammam, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

Records show that unlike the rest of Andhra Pradesh where the movement spread with the help of armed squads in northern Telangana, the movement was mostly popularised by the labour class and students.

There was huge awareness in the Telangana region for the formation of a separate state, and the labour class and students unions decided to spread the ideology of Maoism through peaceful means.

However, this did not last long and blaming the government and the police for suppressing the movement, the armed squads reached the Telangana regions too, and the struggle became violent.

This struggle did manage to drive out the landlords, but that did not end matters. A new class of people called the ‘rich elite’ started flocking these areas and the poor people felt that the only way to keep their rights intact was continue supporting the Naxal movement.

The first signs of major violence by the Naxalites was in 1985. Two policemen were killed in separate incidents in Dharmapuri in Karimnagar and Warrangal. The war had come out in the open. The police retaliated with a host of encounters. The battle only got worse in the years to come.

In 1990 paramilitary forces were deployed for the first time in Andhra Pradesh. However, the Naxal movement had grown by now, and they had acquired a new skill of blowing up police vehicles.

As a compromise strategy, the government decided to hold talks and send the paramilitary forces back. There was even speculation that the Congress, which returned to power after the rule of the Telegu Desam Party, had permitted the Maoists to carry out their ‘political’ activities openly.

However, there was a fallout, as it is believed that the Congress did not live up to the promise of pre-election agreement.

The movement got even more aggressive then, and the Maoists declared that they would be in control of the whole of northern Telangana, the Nallamalla forests in the Krishna basin and also the Eastern Ghat hills.

Experts point out that it was the formation of the Peoples’ War Group by these persons in the 1980s which made this movement extremely violent in nature.

It is pointed out this was a battle which originally commenced for land reforms. However, the sympathisers of this movement allege that despite the Andhra government adopting several laws to this effect — such as the Andhra Pradesh Land Reforms (Ceiling and Agriculture Holdings) Act of 1973 — it was never properly implemented. It is alleged that most of the land that was distributed to the tribals were dry lands and of poor quality.

Although this problem existed in many states, Andhra has always been the epicentre of the problem. The movement gradually spilled into West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar and Orissa.

However, the very reason for the Andhra leadership of Naxals being so popular in the entire country is largely due to the fact that the movement turned into an arms struggle for the first time in this state.

The violent means adopted by the PWG had put the government on the backfoot several times and this encouraged the Naxal cadres of the other states to adopt to the same module.

The Naxal leaders from Andhra were preferred, since they had been using violent means from a long time and were well versed in this kind of ‘guerilla’ warfare.

After the advent of the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh, the movement was neutralised to a large extent, which in turn forced most of the leaders to leave the state. All these leaders then took shelter in other states such as West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, from where they continue to operate even today.

However, it was not only the Greyhounds which played a major role in neutralising the movement. There is a big change in the mindset of the youth of Andhra.

They feel that there was a need to drive out the landlords from their villages and ensure equal rights. But they also point out that the Naxals managed to bring the police to their villages. This was a turning point, since the Naxal cadres started losing local support.

More naxal attacks to follow: IB


The attack at Dantewada in which 75 security personnel kill is sure a wake up call and according to intelligence agencies, there will be more such attacks in the days to come.

State Intelligence officials who are on the job at the affected areas told rediff.com that the reason behind the sudden surge in power for the naxals is that they had been a recruitment spree. The recruitment process is on fast track and there are crash courses which are being offered since they find the urgency to strike at regular intervals. It is no longer the prolonged procedure of training that is involved. They are very well aware that the security forces are trying to clean them up and they feel that they have very little time on hand. The crash course of the naxals just lasts two weeks. The training includes a very quick course on usage of weapons, conducting a recee, keeping a tab on security forces and attack.

The recruitments have been highest in the tribal belts and it is being increasingly noticed that they have managed to gain the support and the sympathy of the local population. This is a clear indication that the security forces have not been able to garner any support from the locals as a result of which they are not able to fight the naxals.

The IB says that the recruitment process is constant all across the red corridor and is not limited to one particular area alone. They have decided to speed up the process where the insurgency is highest, the IB also pointed out.

Mahendra Kumawat, former Director General of the Border Security Force and Special Secretary, Internal Security, Ministry of Home Affairs told rediff.com that this is a very serious issue. The forces who are being sent in should be well equipped and there is no way in which personnel who are not trained should be sent in to such combats.

The Naxal menace is the biggest internal threat to India and their primary aim to push India back and ensure that it never becomes a super power. They are growing in strength and in the days to come they would become more sophisticated since they have been procuring weapons from outside the country. I will not rule out the fact that they have tied up with other anti national forces like those from across the borders. This is a threat which has to be dealt with an iron fist or else it will only get worse as the days progress.

Kumawat further pointed out that there is a need to have a proper strategy to counter the naxals. The need of the hour is a specialized force to counter this problem.

Looking at the latest attack, one could say that there is definitely a need to increase the number of security personnel. The recruitment’sBSF by the naxals is on the rise and they are trying each day to outnumber our security forces. This strategy coupled with local support is what is making them such a strong force. Moreover they will continue to fight the security forces in the jungles itself knowing fully well that our forces are not very good at battling in the jungles. During their training and recruitment process they are specifically told that they will need to die for the cause and once such a mindset is instilled in them it will only make them stronger.

Speaking of the local support which the naxals have managed to garner while our security forces have not, the whole problem is regarding the tenure of the security personnel. He has to be given a long tenure in one place. What I have noticed is that to wage a battle of this nature, it is important that they have local support. More than once I have seen it happen that just when a security personnel is getting accustomed to the locals, he is moved out of that place.

In the backdrop of the latest incident, what our security forces need to do is sit down and analyse the situation just like how the naxals do. They will surely change their strategy the next time around since it has been noticed that after each attack, the naxals do hold a meeting where the attack is analysed, scrutinized and newer plans are deviced for the next attack. The interesting thing is that they analyse the mistakes more after every attack and ensure that the same thing is not repeated the next time.

LeT back in vally trying to gain lost ground


Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba is altering the manner in which it has been waging the battle in Kashmir.

According to intelligence inputs the outfit has stopped its recruitment spree for Indian operatives. In the months to come, more foreign operatives will wage Lashkar’s war in Kashmir.

Indian intelligence agencies told rediff.com that the Lashkar was unhappy with the manner in which the battle was being waged by the Indian operatives.

If one takes a look at the recent battles between the Indian troops and the Lashkar terrorists, the latter have not been as aggressive as they used to be. Moreover, they have not managed to win the confidence of the local people.

The latest recruits (nearly 60 and trained in Pakistan), mostly from Kerala, face problems with regard to the region’s culture and the language. No matter how loyal and tough the Kerala modules are, operatives from the state will no longer have a role in Kashmir operations, say sources.

When compared to the fidayeens (suicide bombers) from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the cadres from India did not meet Lashkar’s expectations. They were unable to connect with the local population and hence were unable to get any information regarding troop movement and related things.

The IB points out that the focus is back on Kashmir for both the Lashkar and the ISI, and they have decided to go all out once again. It has been said quite a few times in the past that the Lashkar is losing out on local support in Pakistan and parts of Kashmir, as it was found to be shifting focus to other parts. It is now trying to regain its stature as a group of freedom fighters fighting for the independence of Kashmir.

The numerous terror attacks and its alliance with other terror groups around the world gave its sympathizers a feeling that it was turning into a full fledged terror outfit and in the bargain forgetting the Kashmir cause. Also, the funding from sympathizers in the Gulf nations too came down due to this change in policy.

The IB says that the ISI too realises this fact and has specifically instructed the outfit to focus more on Kashmir. The days to come would see more gun battles in Kashmir and the directive is clear — the target will be Indian armed forces only.

This change in scenario also means that the number of infiltrations would go up further. The IB says that these are the first signs of the change in strategy and the terrorists are being pushed in, in large numbers with arms and ammunition.

The Lashkar has already aligned with the various forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan to wage this battle and several groups are sending in their men to fight the Kashmir war.

This, however, is not an indication that the Lashkar would stop targeting other parts of India.

Dawood’s fortress in Pak Impregnable


Pakistan may be in denial about the presence of India’s most wanted man Dawood Ibrahim, but every high ranking terrorist who has been nabbed in India has confirmed to security agencies that the man is very much in that country under the care of the Pakistan Army and the ISI.

Ahmed Khwaja, the Hyderabad based, Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant who was nabbed recently has clearly stated during his interrogation that he is the toughest man to reach since there are 8 layers of security guarding his house.

Khwaja was specifically asked by his interrogators in Hyderabad regarding the presence of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan. He said that he did not get to meet him, but his aides had shown him the place where he lived in Karachi.

I was told that it is impossible to get in there and I also saw that there were scores of army personnel and officers of the ISI who guarded that place. He lives on the outskirts of Karachi and the entire area of his house looks like a fort with various rungs of security personnel in uniform.

Khwaja also said that it is impossible to meet or even access the man, since among all other terrorists houses in Pakistan, it is Dawood who gets the most security. Khwaja however did not reveal much about the nature of work that Dawood undertakes, but added that he is the biggest financer for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He said that a lot of the people he met during his visit to Karachi swore by this man and also told him that he is very important to the Pakistan establishment.

Indian agencies had listed out the address and also the properties that Dawood owned in Karachi.

His current address is A 239, Block 13C, Gulshan-e-Iqbal 25, Rufi Cottage. Apart from this he also owns a host of other properties in the high profile areas of Karachi. The properties that have been listed are:

-Block 13D, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Ahmadi Apartments

-Gulshan-e-Iqbal Meymar Arcade, Fourth Floor

-Gulshan-e-Iqbal C-201 Karachi Development Scheme

-Extension 1A Moin Palace, Second Floor, Ghazi Dargah

-Clifton Khayaban-e-Samsher

Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that there is no doubt regarding the security provided to Dawood in Karachi. His activities range from drug trade, fake currency and also real estate. His real estate business itself is worth several 1000 crores in Pakistan alone.
However he thrives most on the drug trade and it is a well known fact that he is being able to go ahead with that trade unabated since he has to hand over 40 per cent of the profits to the ISI. Out of the Rs 1800 crore that the ISI has been raising to sponsor terrorism, nearly Rs 1000 crore is being funded by Dawood alone.

This itself goes on to show the importance of the man and why the ISI is so hell bent upon guarding him. The IB says that on various occasions the Indian government has sought to extradite this man, but till date Pakistan continues to maintain that Dawood is not on their soil.

Madrassas: Are they becoming terror factories?


Madrasa education in India has always been under scrutiny ever since terrorism has become the primary concern of the nation. While the 21000 odd Madrasas operating in India have the stamp of approval of the both the state government and the Wakf Board, the real concern for Indian security agencies are the number of illegal Madrasas which are coming up at quite a quick speed.

A study conducted over the past one year by Indian agencies goes on to show that there are at 3000 illegal Madrasas that have come up in various parts of the country in the past one year which are operating without the approval of any authority. The Intelligence Bureau says that there are efforts on to neutralize these Madrasas and the state authorities have been tipped off about the same. With a lot of heat being generated on sleeper cells and modules, Pakistan based agencies thought it would be best to start off Madrasas to carry out their business.

Reports regarding these illegal Madrasas go on to show that they have been set up on the Jammat-ud-Duwa format. It is a one point strategy and that is a hate India campaign which is being taught over there. One of the teachers at a Madrasa in Mysore on condition of anonymity told rediff.com that there were certain issues pertaining to the syllabus which was being taught at the Madrasas. The original thought before setting up a Madrasa was to teach religion, but we have decided to make a change and have agreed to the proposal of teaching Maths and also English at the Madrasas. Each district has a Chief Madrasa which is answerable to the Endowment Department which in turn will scrutinize the activities of every Madrasa under it. Hence there is no question of any illegal activity, he also stated.

The IB however points out that the legal Madrasas are not the problem. The biggest problem are the illegal ones which have come up in quite a large number. The last year alone saw 3000 of them being set up. However the number of illegal Madrasas is on the rise. In all there are around 9000 such Madrasas in the country with Maharashtra and Kerala topping the list with 3000 and 2800 respectively. In the past two years, the ISI has ensured that the funding for such Madrasas takes place unabated and has managed to pump in nearly Rs 20 crore to start such illegal institutions. These institutions do not report to the Wakf Board of the Endowment Department and function by themselves. The syllabus when compared to the legitimate Madrasas are completely different in nature. There is a prescribed syllabus in the Madrasas in Pakistan and the same has been adapted and used in these illegal institutions. The syllabus is very much based on the Anwar al-Awlaki thought which has been adopted by the JuD and is being taught in almost every Madrasa in Pakistan. Not only does Anwar al-Awlaki speak about the 44 different ways to perform Jihad, but his teachings also instill a sense of hate against India and the West. The illegal Madrasas in India too are adopting to the same teachings and the teachings prescribed by Awlaki and the JuD are being taught right from the secondary levels.

The indoctrination in these illegal Madrasas begins at Class V itself with the students being taught that it was the Hindus who helped the British set up their empire in India. In Class 6 and 7, the students are clearly told that there is no way in which they should reconcile with India since the only way to attain total freedom is by fighting and becoming martyrs. There are various other anti-India aspects that are present in the syllabus being taught in these illegal Madrasas.

Sources say that this is a new strategy that has been adopted by terrorist outfits to further their activities in India. They have realised that the best way to further their cause is by changing a mindset. Earlier these outfits had sleeper cells and recruitment cells through which they picked up people to wage a war against India. However what they have increasingly realised is that such people are vulnerable since they are not fundamental jihadis. Groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba have been on the look out for jihadis who are fundamentalist by nature since they have proven to be more effective in the past. The recruits that they have managed to pick from India are those who have grown up in a normal set up and it is only later due to one particular incident or the money that they become terrorists. The commitment levels among such persons is very low. Hence by introducing the JuD styled Madrasas they feel that children right from Class V can be tuned to think like them so that they become extremely fundamental and fanatic by nature by the time they grow up.

Moreover tracking such Madrasas is also a big problem, since they keep shifting their base every now and then. There is also very little chance of generating any sort of heat since security personnel normally do not tend to suspect a gathering where there are a few 20 children who appear to be learning from a teacher.

Pak army- The guiding force for the Lashkar


David Coleman’s Headley’s latest revealations to the US authorities show the extent of the Pakistani army’s involvement in formenting terror in India. Headley said that when he was training with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, there were six Pakistani army officials who were directly involved in helping the LeT carry out terror strikes in India.

Indian investigation agencies told rediff.com that their main line of questioning would concern the recce Headley had conducted for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and also regarding the involvement of the Pakistani establishment in terrorism against India — a charge which Pakistan has consistently denied.

The latest Pakistani army official in the list is Colonel Shah, a high ranking officer. Shah is believed to have stayed in touch with Headley while he conducted a recce at Mumbai and gave Headley support and information to carry out his task.

Headley is not the first LeT operative, who has linked the Pakistan army to terrorism in India. In the past, Sabahuddin, Ahmed Khwaja and several others too have spoken at length about this link. The Intelligence Bureau has several dossiers which detail the extent of the Pakistan army’s involvement in supporting these terrorist groups.
Sabahuddin had clearly mentioned in his confession that he was received by officials of the Pakistan army at the border and they had arranged everything for him. Even when he had to leave Pakistan, the visa and the ticket were arranged by army officials. Ahmed Khwaja too spoke of the involvement of army officials.

Khwaja’s interrogation report clearly mentions that it is the army officials who guard militants and take care of their every need. The famous Bilal mosque in Karachi is protected by the army, since it is where the militants offer prayers.

While the Pakistan army link has always been present in such cases, it was the Mumbai attacks which changed everything. Indian agencies say that the involvement of the Pakistani establishment was most visible in the 26/11 attacks. They were in the thick of the action right from intelligence gathering, logistic support and sophisticated training needed to carry out the attack.

The IB says that the Mumbai attacks were originally devised by the 313 Brigade of the Al Qaeda [ Images ]. At this point in time, the Inter-Services-Intelligence had planned on carrying out a small attack in the Kashmir valley, just to keep the ball rolling. However when the ISI got wind of what the 313 brigade was planning, they hijacked the plan and decided that they would involve themselves and the Lashkar in this plan.

This was the time when Headley was picked along with Tawwahur Rana to survey Mumbai. At the planning stage itself it was decided that there would be several army officials, who would stay in touch with these men. While six army officials stayed in touch with Headley, Sabahuddin and Rana, another set of Pakistani armymen were busy with the gunmen who finally carried out the attack on November 26.

The most crucial involvement of the Pakistan army was during the training stage. A manual to ensure that the gunmen faced no difficulty during the training was prepared by the Pakistan army.

For the men who conducted a recce, separate guidelines were issued and it seems as though the likes of Headley did not sidestep it one bit thus contributing the success of their mission.

Documentation for those conducting a recce:

All documents such as identification cards and passports should be falsified and must be kept in safe custody at all times, so that they are not seized.
Ensure that there are more than one identification card and passport and the foot solider should be well versed with the details of the different documents he carries
All photographs on the documents should be without a beard.
All falsified travel documents should be shown and approved by the establishment and a procedural control should be adopted. Moreover no family member’s names should be added to any of the documents.
Manual for gunmen and trainers:

*The training will be conducted under the supervision of senior army officials and the army would be on guard at all times.
*After the training is complete, all traces should be wiped out.
*The training should be conducted in secluded areas.
*The establishment would always maintain a strong line of security at such training areas.
*The operatives should not discuss the involvement of the establishment during the training.
*The trainees should be picked in such a manner that one person does not know the other and only seven persons should be trained at a time.
*The identity of the trainer should never be revealed.
*This manual which was prepared by the ISI and the Pakistan army has now been incorporated into both the Lashkar and Al Qaeda training manuals and continues to be used till date.

For the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan Special Services Group trained the gunmen. The SSG, which is the naval wing of the Pakistani army was roped in to train the terrorists as they were launching the operation from the sea.

Indian investigators say that these links have been mentioned several times in the various dossiers handed over to Pakistan, but they had not taken it seriously since they felt that the information was coming out of low level operatives and the statements were made by these operatives under duress.

Headley’s statement could be India’s best chance to nail Pakistan, since his statement will carry a lot of weight. The IB says that extreme care will be taken when they interrogate Headley. Apart from a police team from Mumbai and the National Investigating Agency they would be accompanied by an Indian magistrate who would record Headley’s statement.

The presence of Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, during the questioning, would make the entire affair a foolproof one. The Indian investigators will look to probe Headley over his links to the Pakistani establishment.

Understanding female suicide bombers


In the last eight years, women suicide bombers have carried out nearly 150 attacks across the world. Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa analyses why using women to carry out suicide attacks is being increasingly preferred by outfits like the Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba

The Moscow bombings, carried out by two female suicide bombers on Monday, is in line with what security and intelligence agencies have been warning about from time to time.

Ironically, the terror strike in the Russian capital took place barely four days after the British intelligence agency MI6 warned of new tactics being adopted by terrorist organisations regarding the use of female suicide bombers. Indian intelligence agencies say the female suicide bomber is among the primary weapons that terrorist organisations have and that they use her sparingly, often as a last resort.

Of late, the use of female suicide bombers has been on the rise and statistics indicate that over the years, nearly 200 women across the world have been recruited for the job. Agencies point out that it has become easier to recruit women today as compared to five years ago. Click on NEXT to read further…

The recruitment procedure for females is different from that for men. Around the period when 9/11 was carried out, organisations like the Al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba did not believe in using women as it defied the very meaning of jihad for them. However, things changed following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The steep rise in recruitment of women bombers since then continues unabated.

According to an IB report, the Al-Qaeda and the Lashkar pick women who have either lost their husbands or sons during a war situation and brainwash them.

The report states that these women go through three months of intense brainstorming sessions until they become completely convinced that revenge by death is the only solution to their problem, and they are primed to do as they are told.

Although every terrorist organisation is capable of launching a suicide attack with women in any part of the world, this has been used mostly in Iraq. The year 2008 alone saw 20 such attacks where women were involved.

The IB says that when one looks at the pattern in which the recruitments are now taking place the situation is pretty worrisome. Around two years back, these groups were finding it difficult to find women, but now there are women who volunteer for the job.

Women from both Palestine and Iraq are more than willing to join these outfits, and training and convincing these women is not a big job. When a person volunteers, it only makes the job much easier and the attack deadlier since there is a lot of grit and determination involved. Moreover, while comparing a suicide attack by a man and a woman, the latter has proved more dangerous since they have always been more focused and determined.

Experts say the difference is commitment. Unlike a man, when a woman steps out on a mission she is only thinking of the loss of her son/husband and how she can avenge their loss.

Female suicide bombers have carried out nearly 150 attacks in the last eight years.

Intelligence agencies say that it is hard to deal with this issue, as there are social issues concerned. Despite many warnings, women are checked less and invite suspicion less than men. Given gender issues, security agencies monitoring a high-profile area also need to extremely sensitive when it comes to dealing with women — which works in favour of the bomber on a mission.

US soldiers face a very similar problem in Iraq. They have been told specifically to not look at the local women, leave alone check them. This has come in handy for terrorist groups who continue to use women in suicide attacks.

In the Kashmir valley too there is expected to be a rise in the use of women bombers.

What the future looks like

The future, according to intelligence agencies, would see more terrorist attacks carried out by women. Although there is no specific intelligence the use of female suicide bombers for India, there is reason to believe that the Al-Qaeda plans to targeting both the UK and the US using women.

However, there has been a change in the pattern for the West, and not a single Arab woman is being used for this operation. The Al-Qaeda has intentionally picked women from the Western countries to carry out this job, as it keeps the suspicion factor low, like Jihad Jane.

The number of women being trained to target Western countries is around 20, agencies say.

The danger from female bombers does not loom over India yet. Although a precedent was set in India with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s killing, groups such as the Lashkar have not decided to use women bombers in a big way for now. One reason could be that it is harder to recruit women in India as compared to war-torn Arab nations.

It is a different story, however, that women are definitely playing a big role in sponsoring terrorism in India. Women are being used on a smaller scale in India and their job is limited to providing logistical support and recruitment. The IB claims that in places like Azamgarh and Hyderabad, women are actively involved in brainwashing young people to take up jihad.

Over time, the role of women in terrorism has changed. Initially they were asked to provide a safe house for terrorists. From there onwards they were roped in to recruit the youth, and of late they are being used to transport fake currency.

Kingfisher bomb episode: employees held


The Bengaluru police said the crude bomb on Kingfisher Airlines may have been planted by an employee of the airline.

The police is questioning three employees of the airline in connection with the case.

Refusing to give out details, sources in the Bengaluru police told rediff.com that the three employees may have had some grudge against the company and hence wanted to carry out the operation.

A crude bomb had been found in the cargo section of a Kingfisher flight with 31 people after it landed in Thiruvananthapuram on March 21, raising security concerns.

The three suspects, who were picked up on Thursday, had been working as ground staffers with the airline and had resigned a month ago.

However, since the management had not accepted their resignations, they were still employees with the airline.

During the preliminary round of questioning, the men have told the police that they had taken leave from work and were planning to leave to go to Dubai, from where they were to fly to Afghanistan.

At least this is what they are saying at the moment, the police added.

“We are yet to find out why they were planning to leave the country in such a hurry. We have not zeroed down to a terror angle in this case, but let us see where the investigation takes us,” the police said.

The police said it is too early to come to any conclusion, but at the moment it appeared as though that the three nurtured some grudge against the company and hence wanted to carry out the operation.

However it is too early to say anything as their antecedents are still being verified, the police added