The games Zawahiri will play

Photo caption: Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden. Photo courtesy: http://barcelonavsmachesterunited-road.blogspot.com/
Although it was a well known fact, the news has been made official today- Ayman al-Zawahiri has been chosen to lead the dreaded Al-Qaeda as per the posting on a jihadi website called Ansar al Islam.

The death of Osama Bin Laden had left a vaccum in the Al-Qaeda. Although they were very sound when it came to execution and operations, what they lacked was a idelogical figure to whom people could look up to. This gap will now be filled in by Zawahiri.

Zawahiri like Bin Laden will continue to focus his resources on the United States of America. However the lurking danger is that he would want to carry out something spectacular in a bid to announce his arrival.

Indian agencies point out that the Al-Qaeda has never been much of a worry for India since the ISI has always ensured that the likes of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba focus its resources on the Indian soil. However despite the Al-Qaeda not carrying out any attack on the Indian soil, the inspiration for the Indian jihadi has always been this outfit and never the Lashkar. During the recruitment process in India, videos of Al-Qaeda operations especially the 9/11 attack would be shown. During the interrogations conducted on several terrorists in India, the revealation has always been that Bin Laden is their biggest inspiration as they believe that he took on the mighty US single handedly.

Although Zawahiri has made it clear that jihad against the US would continue despite the death of Laden, Indian agencies suspect that he may try and play a role in Kashmir, the next biggest thing for jihadi factions after the US. Zawahiri may not try and stage a big attack against the US at the moment, since he is very high on their wanted list. Moreover the think tank within the Al-Qaeda would have advised him to go slow on the US at least for the time being.

Zawahiri is not new to the job and this take over cannot be considered as sudden. Although Laden was the face of the Al-Qaeda, he had taken a back seat for the past five years thanks to a falling out with Zawahiri. According to the Indian agencies, Zawahiri had side lined Laden as he felt that the latter did not have the resources to finance the group any longer. Although there was no major war of words between the two of them, Laden had been told by Zawahiri to lie low and not involve himself too much with the outfit. Laden’s health was failing and there was so much heat on him that it had become virtually impossible for him to move about. Hence it was a known fact that Zawahiri would be the next in line.

With this take over, the structure of the Al-Qaeda would appear a bit changed. Under the directions of Zawahiri, newer tie ups had been formed. The 313 brigade was given absolute control over the trainings wing of the Qaeda while the Haqqani Network was roped in for the job of operations.When one looks at these two wings, it is clear that both have a keen interest in Kashmir since their leaders started out their battle over there. This gives one the suspicion whether Zawahiri may also permit the Al-Qaeda to play a bigger part in Kashmir.

Moreover what has also been worrying the Indian agencies is that the recruitments for the Al-Qaeda have been taking place on a large scale from India and all this was with the blessings of the new leader.

The new leader although not as charismatic as Laden, does enjoy a lot of clout within the outfit. The very fact that he became their undisputed leader is a testimony for the same. However the worry for the Al-Qaeda would be whether he would be able to rope in the new faces into the outfit. He is a powerful speaker, but he will try and go the Laden way to ensure that he too is viewed as a hero like Laden was in the jihadi circles, Indian agencies also point out.

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Kashmiri may not be dead

The death of Ilyas Kashmiri continues to remain a mystery and as per agencies in India, he is still alive since there is no credible confirmation regarding his death. Two weeks back, news had broken out stating that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a drone attack. Barring the Harkat-ul-Jihadi, no other agency including the United States of America were able to confirm the news and it remains a status quo till date.
Indian agencies when contacted say that there are three aspects to the news relating to Ilyas Kashmiri. Following the David Headley revealations at the Chicago court, the heat was on Kashmiri. Moreover the United States of America too had made it clear that after the death of Osama Bin Laden, the man most wanted on their list was Kashmiri. The US had also gone to the extent of telling Pakistan to act against Kashmiri.
Once this directive was given to Pakistan, the ISI found itself in an extremely difficult situation since they could not afford the death of another high profile terrorist after Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan following the death of Laden has already been facing the heat from terrorist groups. The death of Kashmiri at the hands of US forces would have only meant that the retaliatory measures would have been terrible for Pakistan.
According to Indian agencies the death of Kashmiri appears to be a rumour either floated by the ISI or Kashmiri himself. Had the US drones killed Kashmiri, they would not have hesitated to declare it since it would have been another feather in their cap in their war on terror.
Both the ISI and Kashmiri were aware that the US were closing in on him. Hence the best way to have avoided any such onslaught was to float such a rumour regarding his death.
At first it was believed that the ISI may have killed him. This could have been easily true considering the fact that Kashmiri has been saying that the Al-Qaeda has managed to infiltrate into the Pakistan army which ultimately resulted in the success of the Mehran attack. However the intercepts now trickling in suggest that the plan to eliminate Kashmiri was called off and the ISI managed to force a truce with the man. Indian agencies feel that the truce between the two would have dealt with outflow of information and Kashmiri could have been told to remain silent. In addition to this, Kashmiri is still an important man for the ISI since he is the one who trains new cadres who can carry out precision attacks.
This prompted Kashmiri himself to float the rumour regarding himself stating that he was dead. Through his parent outfit HuJI, he attempted to confirm the news to the rest of the world. Although none were sure of this, the heat surely died down and resources were spent in confirming the news than tracking him down. This gave him ample time to change his hideout.
Indian agencies say that this is for the second time Kashmiri and the ISI managed to hood wink the world. Similar news regarding his death had emerged a couple of years back too. However at that time even the US forces made the mistake of confirming his death only to realise that he was alive and had very well managed to change his base.
According to the intelligence bureau, deaths of high profile terrorists at the hands of the establishment is nothing new. The ISI tends to eliminate persons who start generating heat which ultimately falls on Pakistan from the rest of the world. There are two more similar instances regarding the death of terrorists. Shahid Bilal of the Hyderabad twin blasts fame was eliminated by the ISI when it was realised that his hiding in Pakistan was doing no good for them. Although the father of Bilal confirmed his death after seeing photographs of Bilal on the internet, the case is not the same for Riyaz Bhatkal, the Indian Mujahideen big wig. There was a claim that he was killed by members of the Chota Rajan gang, but till date there is no confirmation either from our own agencies nor from Pakistan. Indian agencies say that these are the types of games that the ISI plays in a bid to reduce heat. It is extremely difficult to get such things confirmed since Pakistan has a lot at stake either to confirm or even deny the news.

Rana trial- the men who got away

Sajid Mir. Photo courtesy: Domain-b
The much hyped up trial of Tawwahur Rana has finally come to a close and one could say with confidence it did not end the way in which many would have expected it to end.

Indian agencies have been saying that the bigger disappointment regarding this trial has not just been the acquittal of Rana. The more important aspects with regard to the likes of Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal not even finding a mention is what India is really disappointed about.

Getting some clarity regarding Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal was extremely crucial and all hopes were on this court at Chicago to give that clarity. We wonder why David Headley stopped short of speaking more about these two men who he repeatedly interacted with during his mission, an official in the Intelligence Bureau said.

Rana’s acquittal has hurt India, but it is not the end of the road, since we do have our own independent investigation. However it was extremely crucial for the Court to have made some observations on Mir and Iqbal. These are men who are part of the Pakistani establishment and more importantly they are hiding in that country and we all know what the issues are when it comes to accessing those men.

Going by the testimony of Headley where he starts off with promise and then back tracks, it only goes on to show what a skilled and trained operative he was. At the end of it he only said what he already had and has not diverted even an inch.

The IB says that the entire 26/11 attack was sponsored by the Pakistani establishment. It is one thing when we deal with individuals such as Rana and Headley. The job was made easier since they were in the United States of America which in turn assures us of a chance of questioning them. It would have been a different story altogether if they were holed up in Pakistan.

While dealing with matters pertaining to terrorism, it becomes extremely difficult when a particular country is directly involved in the attack. While India does realise the role played by the establishment in this attack, it was extremely important that even the United States did. Major Iqbal is a part of the establishment while Sajid Mir is a global terrorist. These are the kind of people who need to be dealt with international pressure and this verdict would have been the idea platform to deal with such persons. Moreover it was important for the court to recognise the role played by these men and had that been done, then the case for India would have been easier.

The likes of Mir and Iqbal do figure in the dossiers that India has sent to Pakistan. Today Pakistan can simply reject these names on the pretext that there has been no finding by a US court. It is also a well known fact that they would subscribe to a view of the US court rather than India’s demand.

The fact that these very important names were not mentioned at the end of the trial literally gives them a clean chit and only strengthens them to go about their activities. Now India will have put up a very strong case and also implead itself at the law suit in New York to prove the guilt of the ISI. There is a lot of home work that the Indian investigators will have to do in order to nail the ISI link to the case. Also India could hope that there would be a mention about these persons when Rana goes on appeal.

Speaking of Mir and Iqbal, the former comes across as a more dangerous person. A person like Iqbal will not be used for another attack since Pakistan cannot let the names of its officers come out again. However Mir is the one that the world needs to worry about, the IB says. He has a very selective set of skills which has helped him emerge into a global terrorist. He will continue to nurture many more David Headleys and he has been assigned a very key job to ensure that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba turns into a global outfit.

Rana verdict-NIA not deterred

The National Investigating Agency which is probing the David Headley-Tawwahur Rana angle to the 26/11 case appears not to be deterred by the verdict at Chicago. We were never basing our investigations completely on the case built up the United States and we have been conducting our own investigation ever since these two links to the attack had come out, sources in the NIA said.

Although the NIA has taken a couple of leads from the investigation conducted in the United States of America, the probe in India has been by and large independent. However there may a slight delay in the case of Rana since the man’s attorney has indicated that they would prefer an appeal before a higher court. When the legal process is on, the US may not grant immediate access to Rana, sources also pointed out.

The investigations that have been conducted by the NIA have more aspects when compared to the US investigation. The investigation in the US dealt with the broader role which is alleged to have been played by Rana for the 26/11 attack. However since it was a crime that was committed in India, the NIA has been dealing with the finer aspects of the case.

The NIA has so far managed to establish that it was Rana who had provided a cover for David Headley as a result of which the latter could go about his business unabated. The NIA says that had Rana not provided the cover as sought by David Headley, it would have been virtually impossible for him to go about scouting targets in India. He The question that would however require to be answered is how much of Headley’s plan did Rana know. The NIA says that investigations have shown that Rana was in the know of Headley’s plan. We will need to question Rana on these aspects and build our case. However as of now it looks like a clear case of criminal conspiracy under Section 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 120(b) reads thus: Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence will be punished with death, rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards.

The NIA says that in the wake of this verdict, the manner in which this case would dealt with will not change. The questionnaire that has been prepared will be untouched and once we get access, we will still ask the same questions. It is clear that nothing new has come out of this trial, but that does not mean we cannot proceed with our line of the investigation.

During the questioning of Rana, it is extremely crucial for the NIA to establish the link he had with Headley. If they are able to do so with Rana’s statements, then it puts to rest a major part of the case. The light at the end of the tunnel for the NIA is that part of the court verdict which finds Rana guilty of helping Lashkar-e-Tayiba cadres. This part of the probe would be crucial too since the NIA will seek to find out more on the Lashkar/Rana and the Indian connection. The NIA would also look to probe the Rana visit to Kochi. The questionnaire would be more or less based on the questions that the NIA asked David Headley.

However there is a lot of paper work that remains before India can finally seek access to Rana. At the moment the Home Ministry has handed over a couple of documents to the NIA. At the moment, there is no official word from the US regarding the permission to question Rana. This will need to be done through diplomatic channels, but the US does not have any case to deny us the right to question him considering the fact that his actions have affected India. While India is hopeful of getting access to Rana, the only issue may be the slight delay since Rana has indicated that he would prefer an appeal.

Rana-will article 20 play spoil sport?

As expected there was a set back for India in the Tawwahur Rana case. However India continues to be optimistic, but the issue would be that there would be a lot of legal juggling now involved in order to proceed with this case.

Speaking to legal experts on this particular case, one gets to know that the trial in India against Rana can go on as usual. The verdict of the US court will have absolutely no precedent or bearing on the investigation over here.

For starters, Rana could not have been tried in the US court for an offence committed in India, legal experts in India say. This verdict should not have any impact on our individual case, says Justice Santosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India. This verdict may have an influence on our legal system, but there is no precedent that our judicial system ought to abide by the verdict of the US court.

However the biggest worry for the Indian agencies is the provision mandated under Article 20 of the Indian constitution. It makes it clear that a person cannot be tried twice for the same offence as it will amount to double jeopardy. Although India will go ahead with its investigation and ultimately file a chargesheet against Rana, the question is whether Rana’s legal team will make use of the provisions under Article 20. The charges levelled in the US and also in India are almost the same. He was accused of aiding David Headley to stage the 26/11 attack. The US court has not found any merit in that argument.

With regard to Article 20, legal experts point out that there should not be any problem for India to try him once again for the same offence. Even if Rana is to put forth that argument, India can always argue back stating that he was tried in the US for an offence committed in India and this itself is not acceptable to us. This is a matter which will be debated largely in the legal circles over the days to come since it is expected to come up once a chargesheet is filed by the National Investigating Agency.

Looking at the legal provisions available at the moment, there does not appear to be any set precedent on this aspect of the case. At the moment it seems as though there will not be any problem for us to try Rana in India. The only issue will be the impact the Rana case will have in the international community which more or less treats the verdict of a US court as the gospel truth. However legal experts say that all these factors ought not to deter the Indian agencies and they should just go ahead with whatever case they have on hand. The aim should be to put up a strong case and ensure that he is convicted for his offence in India in relation with the 26/11 attack.

How did Muzamil Bhat get away?

As the Tawwahur Rana trial draws to a close, there will always be a big question mark on the one man who got away during this entire proceeding. The name of Muzamil Bhat who today without a doubt is one of the biggest operatives in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been given a miss.

David Headley the man who has been doing all the talking during the Chicago trial has remained surprisingly quiet about Muzamil. Investigations in India at least have clearly shown the links between the two men despite which this name figures no where during the trial.

Bhat was not some low level operative. He is the man who imparted training to all the ten terrorists who staged the 26/11 attack. Indian investigations clearly go on to show that he had not only trained them in combat but had also given them the specifics of the targets to be attacked as well as how they were supposed to take control of the targets.

This is exactly where the Headley-Bhat link begins. Headley was the man in possession of all the data regarding the targets. During his visit to Pakistan following the recee, he has met with Bhat and discussed the targets based on which the training was imparted to the ten terrorists. This gives a clear indication that there was a close link between the two of them.

The case pertaining to Bhat has not been easy for any of the investigators. Indian investigators too have found it very hard to build a strong case against him. The United States too have faced the same problem and moreover Headley is very quiet regarding Bhat.

Immediately after the attack, the name of Bhat had done the rounds several times. Prior to this attack the intelligence intercepts on him all emerged from the Valley since he was one of the primary warriors for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba over there. A master at combat, he has risen to very high ranks in the Lashkar. In fact the Intelligence Bureau says that he was second to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in the Lashkar ranks. This fact was proven when he immediately took over as operational chief of the outfit the moment Lakhvi was sent behind bars. Pakistan claims that it has arrested Bhat too, but his name does not figure anywhere in their investigations which they are supposedly doing on the very same case.

The question now is why there is so much mystery surrounding Bhat. The IB says that there is a manner in which each operative is trained to speak. When Headley was trained by the ISI, he would have been clearly told whose names to reveal and whose not to reveal in case he is arrested. The IB also says that Muzamil Bhat was a name which they wanted to protect very badly and hence there is very little being spoken about him. Moreover the ISI was aware that once the investigations commence, the usual suspects would have been Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi. They were also aware that there would have been pressure on arresting them. In such an event, it would have become very difficult for the operations to run and hence they needed some names especially of those who are second in command to be concealed.

The Indian case on Muzamil Bhat too is not all that strong. There is not really much information that has generated on this man. India will need access to more data such as the voice samples, the call records between Headley and his handlers in order to build up a stronger case against Bhat.

Today Bhat according to the IB is at Muzafarabad and is running a new camp of the Lashkar. Such things only make the case even more difficult because according to Pakistan he has been arrested. It is very difficult to argue on that, Indian agencies say. They have done the same with Sajid Mir and the case is similar where Bhat is concerned. The fact that Bhat was a close contact of Headley is something that needs to be established. Further details on this are expected to come out once the NIA questions Rana and if possible Headley once again.

India has however decided not to wait for any other court to pass a verdict on Bhat. We will have to conduct our own investigations and the NIA chargesheet will take Bhat’s name so that he is tried in India at least. For India he was a crucial link in the 26/11 attack since he is the man who trained all the terrorists.

Headley’s flip flops, Rana’s silence hurts the Indian case

Photo courtesy: thehindu.com
As the Chicago court prepares its verdict in the Tawwahur Rana case, Indian agencies wait with bated breath for the result. Speaking to some of the persons who have been watching this trial closely, one gets the impression that it has been quite a damp squib. What they have to say is this-“we expected more on the ISI angle to the case and at the start it looked promising. However over a period of time, it started to fizzle out and the case is back to the basic facts which were already known.”

For India, nailing the ISI link is extremely crucial since this appears to be the toughest part of the case. There is enough and more evidence against the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and its players and this is a fact that has been accepted world over.

However it would be a fitting case if both Headley and Rana had spoken with the same steam about the ISI links to the 26/11 attack. Around 15 days before the trial, Rana had confessed that he was an operative of the ISI and it was the agency which staged the entire attack. However this confession was not admitted in the court. India did expect Rana to speak out the same thing during the trial, but he decided to sit mum and await the court verdict on him. Headley too had started off with the same vigour about the ISI, but then completely turned it on the Lashkar towards the end of his testimony.

Indian agencies say that this turn around has hurt the Indian case. If the two of them had stuck to their earlier versions regarding the ISI, then the court would have had something to say about the ISI role. When it comes in the form of a verdict especially from a court in the United States of America it always carries more weight. We know for a fact that not only a part of the ISI was involved in the case. Although Headley claims that only a few majors were involved in it, there is no way in which the ISI top bosses did not know about it.

However India does not want to lose hope in this case. A consultation process is underway to implead India in the law suit at New York filed by the relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka who were killed at the Chabad House. In the suit they have said that the ISI has long nurtured and used international terrorist groups, including the Lashkar to accomplish its goals and has provided material support to the outfit and other international terrorist groups.

India will pin its hopes on this case since the New York court appears to have taken the case against the ISI more seriously when compared to the Chicago court. The court had issued summons to the ISI officials as well as leaders of the Lashkar. However there appears to be some procedural hassles at the moment with Pakistan deciding to go all out in defending its spy agency. However Indian agencies say that should not be too much of a worry since everyone has a right to defend themselves.

While the consultation process is underway on whether to implead in this case or not, a final decision would be only be taken once Rana verdict is out.

India does have some expectations out of the Rana trial, the conviction of Rana being the first. They would also like to see stringent action being sought against the ISI officials and also the court making an observation on the larger role that the spy agency from Pakistan played during this attack.

Home Secretary, G K Pillai points out that Rana’s conviction would establish the credibility of an ISI link in the case. These papers would then go to the New York court and this would add to the pressure.

At the moment there are two opinions about joining the suit at New York. India does feel the need to speak out its version on the ISI in a US court. However the only danger would be if that court does not find fault with the ISI, then India does tend to weaken its case in the international community. However the opinion is that India should be willing to take that risk.

A final decision can be expected in the next 20 days. Once the verdict at Chicago is out and the case papers are studied, would a final decision on joining the suit come out, sources also added.

What does Rana have in store?

The allegations levelled by the prosecution in Chicago against Tawwahur Rana is very similar to the information that the National Investigating Agency has collected on the man. The prosecution in its closing arguments made it clear that it was Rana who helped his friend David Headley carry out the 26/11 attack.
Sources in the NIA say that the charges against Rana levelled by the prosecution is similar to what we have on him. He had opened a branch office of his immigration law business which is said to have provided cover for Headley when he went about scouting targets for the 26/11 attacks.
NIA sources however say that they were looking for more information and this was supposed to come out of the horse’s mouth. Our independent investigations have shown that Rana had constantly helped Headley in his endevours. The NIA which will probe Rana after the completion of the trial at Chicago will book him on criminal conspiracy charges, sources said.
However there is one interesting point made by the prosecution during the course of the arguments at Chicago. The prosecution apart from speaking about the 26/11 attack had also claimed that both Rana and Headley had plans for the future as well. The prosecution makes a clear mention that the duo had future goals as well.
The NIA says that during their investigations, they have found that both of them had most of their plans in India. Although the ISI was using both these men for global operations, the maximum data that they have managed to collect has been on India. Rana had not helped Headley only for the 26/11 attack, but he had assisted him in each of his other operations, be it in Delhi or even Pune. The agreement between the two was very clear. Headley had been trained to scout targets while Rana an expert with documents helped him cover his operations. The fact of the matter is that Rana was always in the know of what Headley was up to and they reported to the same handlers in Pakistan.
However when the NIA manages to get permission to interrogate Rana, the questioning would be three pronged. The most important one would be pertaining to the 26/11 attack which would be followed by his ISI links. However for the NIA, the questioning regarding his future operations will also be extremely crucial. The NIA has in its possession certain documents relating to Rana’s visit to Kochi.
A team of the NIA which has been working on this aspect of the case say that he had visited Kochi in Kerala. IGP of the NIA, Loknath Behra had said that there was a headway made in this direction of the probe and in due course of time the details will be made known.
Sources however add that his purpose of the Kochi visit was clearly to conduct a recee. There were locals in Kochi who have helped Rana. Investigations till date show that his visit was more of an exercise to lay the ground work. When one looks at the Rana visit in the light of the statement by Ilyas Kashmiri, it does make sense that this man visited Kerala. Kashmiri had clearly stated that he wanted cadres from Kerala to carry out his ambitious Ghazb-e-Hind project. Moreover Kashmiri was also in touch with Headley and their proximity is not something that is unknown.
Rana had visited Kochi under the guise of an immigration consultant. All through he was acting as per the instructions of the ISI. Sources also add that he may have set up fronts in Kerala like how he did for Headley so that terror cadres could carry out operations under cover. The fact that he conducted a recee is yet to be ascertained since Rana was not trained to do that.
The NIA says that his visit to Kerala was for a specific purpose. His interrogation would reveal the exact details. When Rana was in Kerala, he had placed an advertisement in a local paper inviting visa seekers to both the US and Canada. This according to investigating agencies was a cover up and this front was possibly used to get cadres under one umbrella which Kashmiri was speaking about.

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Natgrid and its benefits

There was a dire need for a full fledged terror data base in India and going by Monday’s meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, it appears that the much awaited National Intelligence Grid or Natgrid is underway.
The idea of setting up Natgrid would be to merge all databases of individuals into one which could be accessed by various agencies. The issue in India was there was no proper data base of every individual and more often than not after every terror strike, we have found our agencies to be groping in the dark.
While this would help a great deal in combating terrorism emerging out of India soil, it would be hard to say whether it would have it effects on terrorists coming in from other countries. The Intelligence Bureau points out that it is essential that we deal with home grown terror first since these are the people who ultimately end up facilitating those who come from outside.
In India there are 1000s of terror cells and modules which a to operate. There is absolutely no data base on most of these persons and this in turn helps these cadres operate with ease. In India the agencies tend to build up a data base after an attack is over. This has only ensured that the terrorists have got more time to slip out and we have seen several times in the past that once a person manages to slip out, we never get him back.
Security agencies point out that although India does have a capable policing wing across all states they remain handicapped for the want of data. Take for instance if a terrorist of Gujarat origin is nabbed in Rajasthan, then the police teams of both states will need to coordinate. In the past we have seen due to lack of coordination and most of the time ego clashes between the police departments of both states information is not shared. With Natgrid, this issue would be solved and the respective departments could access the data base without having to coordinate with each other. In short terrorism would not be a subject matter of one state alone and this data base would be national property without any jurisdiction, security experts also say.
Under this set up, police officials would have to feed information about each person to this data base. This would include credit card details, residential proof, immigration details and all other transactions regarding a person. Natgrid would not only comprise information about people under the scanner. It would have data of every citizen of India. Apart from the above mentioned details, the data base on a person will also comprise information about a person’s bank accounts, finger prints, property details, telephone details and education details.
An official in the IB says that the police will have a big role to play to ensure that this data is in place. The police not only have to feed in the first bit of the data, but there is a need to keep updating the data. Hence there is a lot of manual work load on the police and they cannot afford to slip up. In addition to this the Intelligence Bureau too would keep providing its inputs which again needs to be updated. It will be a continous effort for the police and all other agencies and in case they slip up then we will be back to square one.
Hence when there is an issue with a particular person, the police would have access to that person at the click of a button. Prior to this, the police of a particular state had to call his colleague in another state and after a lot of bureaucratic procedures, the data was shared. This procedure normally took anything between a week or two, which in turn gave time for the person in question to slip out.
Natgrid would also help the police and the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds. The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.
The international terrorists: While this would take care of the home grown problem the issue with regard to international terrorists also needs to be sorted out. Senior police officials say that in case of those terrorists who have slipped out of the country, there is a need to interact with the police of the particular country and also the Interpol and update the data. This would have to be done on a regular basis so that the police can keep a tab on such persons who try and enter into the country.
There will be a training programme for all police personnel across the country on how to feed data into the server. They would also be told on what is to be fed since data fed should not lead to any sort of confusion during investigation. Home Ministry officials say that it is necessary that the right data is fed since they do not want any problems for ordinary citizens due to wrong data pulling up.

Death of Kashmiri and the Kerala connection

First the death of Osama Bin Lasden and now the alleged death of Ilyas Kashmiri. There appears to be a pale of gloom in the terror circles of India following the news regarding these two dreaded terrorists. Although both these men limited their role in India, their names were used constantly to recruit as well as motivate cadres in India.

Osama was a key figure in terror circles across India and he was no less than a God to these youth who took the path of terror. However over the past one year, Kashmiri with his blatant statements like Ghazb-e-Hind was gaining a lot of ground especially in Kerala and this was the state the man himself wanted to launch every terrorist attack out of.

Kerala has a lot of splinter groups fighting for the same meaningless cause of Jihad, but what Kashmiri had managed to do was unite these forces. Very recently, Kashmiri had said that all recruitments for Jihad would happen from Kerala. He felt that the cadres from this part of the world had the most determination and also the loyalty factor was immense among them. Moreover picking up cadres from Kerala was always easier for any terror group since the mindset among a lot of youth from this state is pro Pakistan, according to Intelligence Bureau reports. In addition to these communal tensions are extremely high in Kerala and following every communal clash there is a major recruitment drive that always takes place.

Terror groups such as the SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen which are very active in this state had started to lose out over the past couple of years. Most of them had split into several groups and they started to find that there was no focus in their operation. However with Kashmiri deciding that he would launch his attacks from this state, there was a huge change in the mindset of the terror groups. They had found a leader, an inspiration and also a motivation in Kashmiri. He had started to become their next Osama Bin Laden.

Both the police and the Intelligence Bureau have said that it was becoming extremely difficult to stop this phenomenon in Kerala and to a large extent the situation was getting out of control. Not only was there the ideological influence from Pakistan, but the funding from the Gulf made matters even more worse. In the past couple of months, Kashmiri had become a key factor among several youth and they blindly followed him thanks to his warrior status. The fact that he fought with one eye and his bold statements were all inspirational for these youth.

For Kashmiri’s pet project the Ghazb-e-Hind, the recruitment was going to be done primarily from Kerala. The process had already commenced and all these youth were transported across the border to be personally trained by him. The biggest worry for Indian agencies was not only the fact that he was an inspirational leader, but also he taught them to become fierce warriors.

When one looks at a Kashmiri he just believed in a full fledged war. He was the one who brought back life into the Al-Qaeda with his expertise in operations. What made him even more deadly is that he was good in three departments- ideology, planning and execution. There are very few terrorists who possess all these skills. Hence going by his expertise, it becomes clear that the recruits from India were being imparted with very sophisticated training. Intercepts picked up on the Indian youth show that they were being trained in every possible department- use of ammunition, fidayeen strikes, bomb blasts.

His training pattern has been extremely successful considering that he belonged to the Special Services Group of the Pakistan army before falling out with them. He has even claimed that he had trained the ten terrorists who undertook the 26/11 attack. Going by the manner in which that attack was carried out, it clearly shows the skills the man possessed.

The IB says that the other problem was that in the past couple of months, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba too was getting closer to Kashmiri. The Lashkar did find itself on the back foot in India for sometime now and hence it used the expertise of Kashmiri to regain control in India. India can sure breathe a sigh of relief with the news of Kashmiri. There is going to be a natural disintegration of terror forces in most parts of India especially in Kerala since their leader is dead. Moreover Kashmiri was in the know of various plans for India, which only he could have executed with deadly precision, the IB also adds.

While there may be many other leaders the youth may look to for inspiration, the fact of the matter remains that Kashmiri was the best at the job where the operations and execution aspect of terrorism was concerned.