Biju Salim-innocent or guilty?

Photo courtesy: The Hindu
Photo courtesy: The Hindu

A sub inspector from Kerala was recently picked up for allegedly forging a letter and leaking it to the press, the content of which read, “ the government had plans on hacking 200 plus emails mostly belonging to Muslims. After the news of the hacking appeared in the press there was an uproar in the Kerala assembly following which the cop, Biju Salim was arrested.

Now, whether the letter was really forged or was the arrest carried out thanks to the uproar in political circles is something that is being investigated. The police who are part of this investigation say that Salim had forged the letter and leaked it to the media knowing fully well that such a publication could well lead to a communal conflict in the state. Moreover they also accuse him being part of a larger conspiracy aimed at disrupting peace in the state. In other words what the police are trying to say is that he attempted to do something that normally any terror group would try and do and that is rake up communal sentiments in the state. One of the officers goes on to state that it is a subject matter of investigation and the various possibilities are being explored.

However there appears to be a lot of confusion regarding this case. Kerala in fact tops the list of the most watched state in the country. It is a well known fact that Kerala has become the epi centre of terrorist activities in the past couple of years. The very fact that a man like Ilyas Kashmiri chose to pick up youth from Kerala goes on to show how preferred this state is for terror activities. There are also issues such as hawala money amounting to nearly Rs 10000 crore which is being pumped into this state and according to the police a large part of it is being used for terror activities.

Surveillance is part of the job of any spy agency. Although unofficial one cannot deny the fact that it is taking place. In many cases it has been also found that governments have ordered such a probe and have often used such information to keep political rivals or coalition partners on tenterhooks. Kerala is no stranger to the evil of politics being mixed with crime. There are various small parties which have often found themselves being dragged into the terror nexus- the likes of Abdul Nasar Madani to name a few. Moreover during election time such activity is usually very high and anti social elements including small time terror organisations have been used to further political causes.

Now speaking about the case on hand there are various doubts that come to one’s mind. While there is a good possibility of the letter being forged, the events that led up to this incident tell a different picture and this is going by the manner in which the system reacted to this incident.

Biju Salim who was part of the high tech cell which was involved in surveillance and hence it is a good possibility he had information regarding secret documents and confidential orders of the government. He was part of the cell since October and had been posted there on deputation. In addition to this he was also doing his MBA after having completed his journalism and PGDCA course.

The fact of the matter remains that Biju Salim is an offender as he is not supposed to pass on such information or documents to the media. While he is part of a terror group or not is something that an investigation would tell, but the fact is that he can always be booked under the Official Secrets Act for passing on confidential information.

This case has taken many swings and it is interesting to note that his suspension from the force did not happen due to forging a document, but because he had leaked a letter which was sent by the Superintendent of Police to the Additional DGP. In the communication it was stated that an inquiry be conducted on 268 email ids of persons allegedly belonging to the Students Islamic Movement of India. However the counter attack to such a probe was that keeping a tab is illegal and especially when this list of 286 had many persons who did not even have a petty crime registered against them.

This case had many more twists and turns. When the news first came out the Chief Minister had said that the matter would be investigated and also advised the media from restraining from writing such communally sensitive articles. The probe too commenced with the angle being the leakage of the letter. Moreover a special team was constituted only to probe the leaking of the letter. This probe had in fact found that the letter had been leaked to the media, but later on it was stated that the letter was forged and given to the media with an intention of creating communal tension.

The police however say that there are many theories and they need to thoroughly probe the matter. However if the first round of probe showed that the letter had been leaked that means that there was actually a letter of this nature in place. So, why did it become a forged document later?

Email or phone tapping requires a go ahead from the Home Ministry and only then does the action become a permissible one according to an order of the Supreme Court of India. However when one has to fight a menace called terrorism, it is very important that tabs are maintained as one needs to act quick and cannot be entangled in red tape.

Are we ignoring the problem in North East?

Pic-Ibnlive

There was quite a revelation made by former ISI chief Assad Durani before the Pakistan Supreme Court when he said that the Pakistan spy agency had been meddling with India’s affairs in the North East.
India has been saying this forever and has also claimed that the operations in North East which has several instances of insurgencies are all being funded by the ISI. The Harkat-ul-Jihadi in particular has been causing a great deal of trouble in both the North Eastern states. According to Durrani the ISI had paid Rs 50 crore to former Prime Minister, Khaleeda Zia during the 1991 elections.
The nexus between the ISI and the DGFI in Bangladesh is not anything new. In fact the Indian Intelligence has termed the DGFI as the cousin of the ISI which works along with the Jamait-e-Islami which used to be a political ally of the BNP government which Durrani claims to have funded. During the last ten years according to IB sources nearly 9000 trained jihadis from various countries from Pakistan and also the Middle East were sent to Bangladesh from where they were to launch operations against India and other Western countries. The DGFI in partnership even brought in the Al-Qaeda in the earlier half and later went on to create the HuJI which is the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The two agencies had very often worked hand in hand when it came to destabilising India. The North Eastern states have been hit by insurgency for quite some time and the ISI through the DGFI has been quick to support such groups in carrying out subversive activities against India.
Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that over the past couple of years especially between in the years 2004 to 2006 the activity against India in Bangladesh has been particularly high. It has become a preferred border for terror groups when compared to the border on Pakistan. Look at even the recent spate of arrests starting from T Nasir and the rest of the Indian Mujahideen operatives. Each one had a Bangladesh connection and all of them spoke about the ease with which they crossed over into India. The busting of the Bihar module is also another example of how elements in Bangladesh are working against the country. The ISI is well aware of the illegal immigrant problem in India especially in the North East, Bihar and West Bengal and they have used this problem to their advantage.
However the ISI has used Bangladesh a great deal in creating problems in the North East. Many would say that the problem is immense in the North Eastern states but has never received much focus due to the magnitude of the problem that we face in Kashmir and other parts of the country.The statistics in so far as North East tells the story. In Assam there are 36 terror groups that operate under various names.The ULFA, NDFB, UPDS, KLO, BLTF, DHD, KNV, RNSF, KRLO, KPF, BTF, ASF, Revolutionary Muslim Commandos , Muslim Tiger Force, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, HuJI among others are the major terror networks that operate in Assam.
In Manipur there are 39 terror groups in all that are in operation which include the UNLF, PLA, KCP, Islamic National Front (INF), Islamic Revolutionary Front (IRF) among others.
Meghalaya and Nagaland have 6 terror groups in all which are the Hynnietrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M) National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – NSCN(IM) and  the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have 33 terror groups in all which are the NLFT, Tripura Tribal Volunteer Force (TTVF), All Tripura Liberation Organisation (ATLO), Arunachal Dragon Force(ADF) among others.
The casualties also tell a very sorry picture. In the last six years 1542 civilians have died in terror strikes. In the year 2006 there were 232 deaths while in 2007 and 2008 the death count due to terror strikes were 457 and 404 respectively. The years 2009, 2010 and 2011 saw 270, 77 and 80 deaths respectively. The year 2021 has seen 22 civilian deaths so far.
Although Durrani claimed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the ISI had funded Rs 50 crore to Bangladesh to carry out subversive activities against India, the Indian Intelligence feels that the amount could have easily surpassed Rs 300 crore by now. Bangladesh is a hot destination for the ISI in their endeavour to wage a full fledged battle against India. They would want the whole of North East to remain unstable so that they have more control over India. Most of the terror strikes in the North East are carried out by home grown elements and this actually serves their purpose as infighting is something that causes more de-stability than an external attack.
While this is one part of the problem the other issue is the emergence of a terror group known as the HuJI which has managed to spread its tentacles into India especially down South. There were a spate of attacks witnessed especially in Bangalore and Hyderabad which were primarily the job of the HuJI. It is being managed well says the IB and the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has managed to create a solid base in India thanks to ISI funding.

Sim cloning and the threat ahead

Phone hacking, sim cloning, theft of IP addresses, we have it all. A couple of years back a set of Nigerian youth were sending out SoS emails to lure Indians with an intention of siphoning off funds. The fraud was however caught.

Today the crime syndicate has become even bigger and such techniques are being used for bigger gains. Over the past couple of years we have heard of phones being hacked and the same being used to bounce off calls in the name of the original user. Take the recent arrest that was carried out in Philippines which was based on a complaint to the AT&T. It was alleged that a group of terrorists had hacked into phone networks in a bid to raise money which was allegedly used for the 26/11 attack. Prior to this there was also a major incident involving Hezbollah terrorists who cloned the mobile phones of senior officials. This came to light when a law professor by the name Susan Drummond challenged a bill of nearly 12000 US Dollars which she had received. On her itemized bill she had found that calls had been made to Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Russia at a time when she was out of town.

An operation of this nature would effectively mean calls and transactions are being made by terrorist groups under some other name which effectively protects the identity of the terrorist. Moreover they clone the cell phones of very ordinary customers who are not being monitored by the Intelligence Agencies.

The process involved in phone cloning is extremely simple for a terrorist. They record the Electronic Serial number and also the Mobile Identification Number before programming their own mobile phones to transmit MIN and ESN to their mobile network. When a call is then made by the real owner of the cell phone the information gets transmitted to the nearest site and then it remains on that site until it moves to the next site. This would mean if you have been making a call from New Delhi in one billing cycle you would be surprised to see in your bill that all the calls that have been made are from Bangalore or any other place which these terrorists have chosen to call from.

Now speaking of the risk that India as a country faces, it may be pertinent to note that the concept of sim cloning is something that appears to be catching on very soon. Very recently security agencies had raised an alarm regarding this concept which today is being used by criminals and say that it could well be a good tool for terrorists as well.

For a crime cartel which aims as cleaning you up of funds it is quite an easy procedure. They buzz you once and if you happen to miss that call and then return it, they very quickly pick up your ESN and make a call which you would be billed for. In most cases it takes a very long time for the victim to realise as to what is going on. In addition to this these criminals also tend to pick up information regarding any financial transactions that have been made on the cell phone and using the data available they generate funds for themselves as well.

Today there is not a single bank which does not offer a financial transaction through the mobile phone. Security experts say although these are easy ways of making a transaction it poses a great security risk in case your sim or phone is cloned. The phone saves data or your transactions which could be accessed by criminals or terrorists and used for disruptive purposes.

Such incidents are coming to light in India. However the transactions through a cloned sim card have not been very big. They have been instances to show that small amounts such as Rs 100 have been taken out of an account. In other instances there have been calls which have been made at the expense of the real user. Most people do not dispute small claims and this is proving to be advantageous to the criminal.

Looking at a couple of cases in India it has been seen that mobile cloning is more popular with the CDMA technology. It is easier to clone a phone using CDMA technology as such networks give access to both the ESN and the MIN unlike a GSM phone. Hence returning a call is sufficient for the criminal to get access of the vital numbers. Those operators who deal with CDMA technology are however working on this threat and claim that they have put in place encryption technology which prevents scanners from picking up your information.

However considering the fact that the GSM technology is more popular these criminals have also found a way to clone the SIM card as well. But there is a long but easy procedure involved in this which would require the criminal to have the sim card they want to clone with them. A GSM SIM would not have an ESN. However if the criminal does manage to get access to the SIM card they he would be able to very easily obtain both the ESN and the MIN. A device to scan the SIM is available for as less as 5 dollars. The SIM is scanned to extract the code. The code is then placed into the card software and then copied on to a new SIM card and they get a cloned SIM card at the end of it.

This would mean that the person wanting to clone the SIM card would actually have to steal one. Since this is a difficult scenario, there is a good possibility of these persons getting in touch with local SIM card dealers who could provide them the SIM cards that they sell for a couple of days. The code could be copied and then returned to the local dealer who will in turn sell it.

Pavan Duggal, an expert with cyber laws explains that there could be instances when such a syndicate involved in SIM cloning could also be involved with some service providers. These providers give out information regarding the SIM cards and it could be cloned. Speaking about the laws in India unfortunately we do not have any to deal with SIM cloning. SIM cloning as a phenomenon has not been touched by the IT Act of 2000. However in the year 2008 mobiles phones were brought under the ambit through an amendment although there is no mention of SIM cloning in it.

Regarding the punishment there is no real section available for SIM cloning. However Section 66 of the IT act could be applied which speaks of a fraud that is committed. Once again this is a bailable offence and if convicted it prescribes 3 years imprisonment and Rs 5 lakh fine which again is hardly a deterrent. There is a need to amend the IT act, says Duggal. The more important thing is that SIM cloning has its biggest impact on the subscriber whose SIM is cloned. The person could face unnecessarily.

The danger called Abu Hamza

When dreaded terrorist Abu Hamza started out with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba none expected that he would become one of India’s biggest headaches. Hamza who started off as a low level operative with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba today is a high ranking cadre and threatens to battle Indian forces not only in the Kashmir valley but in other parts of India as well.

Very recently an operative by the name Ahtesham an alleged member of the Lashkar who was nabbed in Delhi reportedly told the Delhi cops that he was sent in by Abu Hamza who currently is in Kashmir. Now this is the same Hamza who played a very crucial role in the horrific 26/11 attack whose name figures in the several dossiers sent in by India to Pakistan.

Hamza is a man who has a good reach in India. Although he has been deployed for the Kashmir battle, his focus would also involve other parts of the country as he is no stranger to the logistics of various places. According to Ahtesham, Hamza has been directly involved in the recruitment of youth who would in turn have to set up modules across the country. He also goes on to state that the battle in Kashmir would become more fierce in the days to come under the leadership of Hamza.

Indian agencies are taking this man very seriously. He has been a wily operative and has managed to give agencies the slip on many occasions. His stint in India began with the IISC attack. According to the statement given by Sabahuddin Ahmed, the man acquitted in the 26/11 case but who faces trial in the IISC case, Hamza was the man who helped him through the operation. Sabahuddin states that Hamza was present with him in Bangalore both during the run up and also execution of the IISC attack.

However by the time the police realised who the men were, Hamza had crossed over into Hyderabad and then fled to Pakistan only to resurface once again during the Uttar Pradesh CRPF attack. Hamza is an ace with logistics and he has gained the capabilities of guiding an attack which has earned him a promotion in the Lashkar. He has been studying the Indian terrain for a very long time now and has managed to dish out contacts in various parts of the country. He is capable of guiding an operation even in the South of India.

According to the Indian Intelligence Bureau, the sudden surfacing of Hamza’s name is a cause for concern and he would be doing everything in the book to either carry out a major attack or strengthen the base of the Lashkar further.

He is no ordinary operative and his skills were witnessed during the 26/11 attack. He was one of the voices which guided the terrorists who went on a rampage that day. During the last couple of years, Hamza has moved up the ladder in his outfit. The very fact that he was in the know of the David Headley operation only goes on to tell that he was in the know of the entire operation right from day one. He had also been part of the meetings that were conducted with some members of the Pakistan establishment which was involved in the planning of the attack.

The IB says that there has been a sudden spring in the activities at Pakistan. The appointment of Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam as new ISI chief is also something that is being keenly watched by the Indian agencies. He is a man who was in charge with counter intelligence operations while with the V Corps and there was no way in which he would have not known about the 26/11 attack during the planning stages. However what is being gathered is that Kashmir would continue to be the primary focus of Islam and it is in this context that the role of Hamza who is in charge of the Valley becomes very important. The new chief may try to make a statement and dissolve the growing unrest among terror groups. This can be done only by stepping up operations against India and for the ISI, Hamza would be their man as today he is their most trusted soldier in the Valley who not only is capable of staging an attack but also pulling in the youth in large numbers.

An alive Ilyas Kashmiri bigger headache for India

A couple of months back there was a lot of confusion surrounding the death of the dreaded Ilyas Kashmiri. However the Long war journal quoting the Daily Times reports that the Brigade 313 leader is very much alive and was spotted at a meeting of the Taliban in Pakistan.

From day one there has been confusion over the death of this man. It was claimed that Kashmiri was killed around 20 days after the death of Osama Bin Laden in a drone strike. However the United States or Pakistan never confirmed this news which led everyone to believe that it was a plant by the Kashmiri followers to lower the heat on the man.

Looking at this from the Indian context, Indian agencies would have wished that he was dead. Him staying alive is of no consequence to India as there is actually no way in which India would ever get access to this man if he were to ever be arrested. He figures in the dossier to Pakistan and also in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigating Agency. The NIA takes his name in the charge sheet while dealing with the David Headley in which it states that he had helped Headley during his stint in India.

Kashmiri being alive is not good news for India as in the recent past he has shown every inclination to make India his primary target. Kashmiri had claimed earlier that the entire 26/11 plot was his baby which was later hijacked by the ISI. Moreover during the David Headley interrogation by Indian agencies, we realised the manner in which he closely cooperated with Headley to the run up to the attack. Further there was also information trickling in which suggested that he had decided to hire a set of boys from India and train them to undertake the ISI’s pet venture known as the Karachi Project. Looking at these developments it becomes clear that since the past four years Kashmiri has shown a great deal of interest in India.

The future of the Kashmiri-India story is something that will unfold in the days to come. His relationship with the ISI has been a love hate affair. Earlier he was a pawn with the ISI and had conducted himself based on their fancies. However he had a falling out when the ISI decided to pull him out of Afghanistan as they wanted him to fight in Kashmir. However he fell out with the ISI and fought his battle on his own.

Today there is a clear patch up and both Kashmiri and the ISI work hand in hand according to intelligence available in India. He has shown clear signs of aggression towards India in the past couple of years. He does not speak of Kashmir alone, but has been thinking of targeting key cities in the country through a programme called as Ghazb-e-Hind.

However since the past 6 months there has not been much information about the motives of this man. It is re-grouping time for the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban after the death of Bin Laden and the organisations are currently busy with that rather than planning their next offensive. However Kashmiri’s role in India would largely depend on how the ISI plans on using him.

Kashmiri is a member of the Al-Qaeda but has been handling a wing of the outfit which is called the 313 Brigade. The 313 Brigade although part of the Al-Qaeda had an independent jurisdiction and most of the decisions were taken independently by Kashmiri himself. If Kashmiri continues to remain in the 313 then it could spell trouble for India as he would continue to focus out here.

However there is a likelihood of Kashmiri being given a bigger role and made the head of the Al-Qaeda. He is most likely to hold the role of Operations Chief of the Al-Qaeda and if that were to happen he would have to continue focusing against the US in Afghanistan and also Pakistan which would mean that his menace would not be a worry for India per se. Being made the head of the Al-Qaeda would also have him more involved in the affairs of the Taliban which is also structure less today.

The IB says that the ISI would surely be expecting a bigger role from Kashmiri. The situation over there is a mess with absolutely no unity among the various forces. Groups such as the Al-Qaeda, Taliban and also the Tehreek-e-Taliban are in doldrums as they face a leadership crisis. In such a circumstance Kashmiri looks like an ideal candidate. He possesses a lot of qualities which have been luring the youth from different parts of the world to take up arms.

India would look with keen interest at the developments regarding Kashmiri since a lot would depend on the way that the ISI handles him.

Don’t miss:
Kashmiri the new Al-Qaeda Boss

What the hell is Bullet 313?

 

The rise of Quds Force

The Delhi police claim that they had made some progress into the Delhi attack in which the target was an Israeli diplomat’s wife. According to the Delhi police the journalist, Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi was the turning point to the investigation and he is said to be spilling out information regarding the attack.

The investigators are looking into the possibility of the Quds Force and the Hezbollah into the attack. Officials however point out that the links to the Quds Force look more of a possibility at the moment when compared to an operation by the Hezbollah. According to Kazmi, he had provided logistic support to men from Iran, but he was unsure as to which outfit the men belonged to. The indications at the moment point towards the Quds Force.

According to the Indian Intelligence, the Hezbolla is an outfit which reports to the Iran intelligence. Looking at the diplomatic ties between Iran and India, it is unlikely that Iran would approve of an attack on Indian soil even if it meant that the targets were Israelis. The Quds Force on the other hand is looking to make its point heard loud and has shown signs of expanding into other countries.

This force was created during the war of Iran with Iraq. Their area of operation remained largely in Iraq and they had helped the Kurds in their battle against Saddam Hussein. However after the death of Saddam, they found themselves wanting for a cause and it was gradually then that they decided to take on Israel and use the Palestine cause. Looking at the manner in which this force has operated it is clear that they have been involved in small ways in possibly every fight that the Muslims are waging worldwide. Traces of their involvement was seen in the fight that the Afghans fought with the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav war and also the fight against the Serbs.

Today the Quds Force has a strength of around 15000 people. They are not directly under the control of the Iran militia at least now although the regime in Iran had supported them way back in the 1980’s while the country was at war with Iraq.

The latest on the agenda for the Quds Force is the battle for Palestine. It appears that they have decided to wage a war against Israel on a large scale and hence could have carried out a series of attacks at India, Georgia and also Thailand. One cannot call it a full fledged attack as the intensity was low in all the three places. It was more to test the waters and also make an announcement on the world stage.

However it appears to be a deliberate attempt that they have maintained a low key despite these attacks and there was no official proclamation from the group regarding their participation in the attack. Either there is no full fledged involvement or it is a deliberate ploy to keep the heat low, Indian Intelligence Bureau officials point out.

While investigators say that there is a link pointing towards the Quds Force, the assessment done by the Intelligence would question the involvement to some extent. This is largely because of the fact that the group has not claimed responsibility as yet. Terrorist groups normally would like to take responsibility for an attack so that they could send out their message loud and clear. However in this case it has not happened. However that should not be a factor to let go of the group since this could be a ploy which was aimed at testing the waters.

Speaking of the capabilities of the Quds Force in carrying out international operations, sources say that the group is well equipped. They have primarily been known for their skills on the battle field and recently have shown signs of being able to stage operations through a remote control in other countries.

When one speaks of their operations in India, it becomes clear that some groups from West Asia have been carrying out surveys here. Although their target has not been India, they have been looking to target Israelis and citizens from the United States of America living on Indian soil. Israel has in particular been paranoid about this development has sent in many of their trained citizens for counter terror operations which they have been doing undercover. Some members of the Iran based terror groups have been in India providing logistic details, collecting funds and also looking for recruitment’s.

The Quds Force in particular which is being probed in this regard could have picked people of Iranian origin living in India to provide details and information of their targets. Kazmi is an example of one such person who provided details of targets to this force, the police say. If the statements of Kazmi are to be believed then it becomes clear that the attack was staged by an Iranian force since he says during his interrogation that the attackers fled to Iran after the incident.

Del attack- did this scribe play a role?

There is nothing much that the Delhi police has to smile about in the Isreali diplomat car bombing case. Although one journalist has been picked up, the Delhi police are only treating him as a suspect as of now and say that certain movements of his had come under the scanner and that is what is being investigated.

The journalist identified as Mohammad Ahmed Qazmi was detained for questioning by the Delhi police. They are trying to ascertain the role that he may have played in the attack. The 40 year old Qazmi claimed that he was contributing articles to the IRNA news agency, sources said. He is however not a known figure in Delhi and was aloof by nature, the police also add.

During the past couple of weeks he had been regularly in touch with people in Iran and is alleged to have passed on information regarding the attack and also the investigations into the case. He could have passed on information like any journalist does, but his call records are being verified at the moment, the Delhi police also add.

The police however feel that more probing could get them some much needed leads into the case. He could have conspired with some agency in Iran and may have been in the know of the attack, the police also add. The police also state that he had very recently made a trip to Syria. Although there were several other journalists on that trip, the police is trying to ascertain the information he had shared during that trip.

The police also add that he kept largely to himself and was not the sort who inter acted too much. However they also add that he had strong views against Israel and his writings often indicated the same.

The Delhi police however is taking this case extremely slow and have not claimed any major breakthrough. They have always maintained that there is a lot at stake diplomatically and hence there cannot be any rush unless and until there are definitive clues and leads.

Cyber war and the never ending threat

Photo courtesy: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/
Photo courtesy: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/

We are by now well aware of the kind of security risk that is posed by terrorists using the internet. Aditya Mishra who spoke recently at the International Conference on Mobile Law at New Delhi explained at length how the internet and internet telephony has become a cause for concern for security agencies.

The United States of America too addresses a similar concern and very recently Director, FBI, Robert Mueller also suggested that cyber security threats could very soon become bigger threats than terrorism.

When one looks back at the 26/11 attack we realise that India was lacking when it came to curbing the run up to the attack which was largely carried out through the internet. Right from the stage of planning to the financial transactions, everything was carried out on the internet and our agencies were clearly in the dark all through the operation. Mishra during the conference did explain how the VoIP was used during the 26/11 attack. He said that the terrorists used a VoIP based service in New Jersey, USA. Callphonex got an email from a mail id, kharak_telco@yahoo.com on 21st October 2008, from Kharak Singh from India, for starting a VoIP account. “To activate this Callphonex VoIP account, an initial payment of $250 was made by a Mohammaed Isfaq through a Lahore based agent, through Money Gram. A Virtual number 0012012531824 was allotted by Callphonex, and it is the property of a Voxbone, a Belgian company, and was leased out to Callphonex, and a request was changed for allottment for 5 DID numbers (Direct Inward Dialers).” The calls are supposed to be coming for the virual US number, but they go to the five Austrian DID numbers, which are all virtual numbers, albeit mobile numbers.

India has now become fully aware of the problem and does realise that it does need a full fledged agency to counter this menace. India feels that its problems in cyber space would be solved to a large extent once the National Cyber Coordination Centre is set up. The job of this centre would be to monitor all activity on cyber space and then report it to the investigating agencies.

India today finds itself to be a victim of both cyber attacks and also cyber terrorism. Police officials say that despite very stringent measures, the web would be the worst place for them to deal with since terrorists would continue using it and finding ways to beat the security system. The Indian agencies would look to adopt the FBI style of functioning where they would not only pick up intercepts but also identify patterns and also players indulging in cyber crime. This would go a long way and would help identify the trail so that cracking or even preventing the case would become easier. In addition to this the Indian agencies also expect a very strong legislation to support their case. The proposed National Cyber Coordination Centre threatens to invade into privacy as it is intended to monitor each and every mail, tweet or face book update remotely connected with India. Indian agencies hope that the government would be able to overcome certain privacy issues so that the all the time is not consumed fighting a legal battle.

While the 26/11 styled attacks and the use of the internet would gain top precedence for Indian agencies, they also have headaches posed by the home grown terrorist outfits as well. The Indian Mujahideen in particular has been notorious to use the web space and has very often managed to fox Indian agencies.

Cyber experts say that the internet has become the most preferred medium for terrorists. Not only have they been planning operations on the net but also use the information available on it to their advantage. In cases of terrorism, the internet has provided real time information which has helped these terrorists plan their next move and also change their location. The agencies are trying to find a way to regulate the flow of content on the web which could prove fatal to investigation. The net was often accessed on the cell phone by the Indian Mujahideen operatives and they had picked up information on the police investigation real time which helped them plan their next move. Some police officials say that most of the time the flow of news at such a fast pace helped these operatives give them the slip.

The Delhi police which has been investigating several crimes committed by the Indian Mujahideen found that it was the internet which helped these persons a great deal. The operatives are said to have confessed to using their cell phones to access the web. They were trained to use key search words regarding the case on hand and they moved around avoiding arrest based on the information which the police were feeding to the press.

The Delhi police officials said that the use of this tactic helped them evade arrests for quite some time. There is a need to regulate the information that is coming out of the various

NGO’s- conversion, demonstration and terrorism

The Government of India has finally woken up and has put around 77 Non Governmental Organisations under the watch list for fueling anti India activities. The topic regarding the mis doings of some NGOs in the country have been doing the round for quite sometime and recently the Ministry for Home had also pointed out that there are some organisations in and also outside the country which are aimed at causing unrest.

The problem is three fold according to the Economic Wing of the Intelligence Bureau. Preliminary investigations which have dealt with the funds of these NGOs show that their activities have ranged from causing unrest, terrorism and also conversions.

The country has 68000 registered NGOs. But the problem is not with these NGOs as their records and financial transactions have always been an open chapter. The problem is with the 77 NGO’s which have now been identified by the Government of India. The Home Secretary, R K Singh says that these NGOs are not being probed. He however adds that some NGOs have diverted funds and these are the ones which will be probed.

However the IB has decided to put all these 77 NGOs under the watch list as there has been some suspicion regarding their dealings. Most of these NGOs get their funding’s from the Gulf, the United States of America and also some Scandinavian countries.

The NGO’s from both the US and also these Scandanavian countries have been notorious for pumping in funds in a bid to cause and unrest and even conversions. For the sake of conversions, these NGOs which have their bases in the above mentioned two places have pumped in nearly Rs 10000 crore and these funds are currently under the scanner of the Home Ministry. There have also been instances to show that funds are being pumped in, in large numbers for the sake of causing anti development protests. The recent one being the protest against the Kundakulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The Home Ministry feels that the protests were funded by NGOs in the United States of America. These kind of NGOs have been set up in various parts of the world and the job is to create protests against projects which would help in the development of a nation. In addition to this some of these NGOs have also been parking money and supplying them for the naxalite movement as well.

There have also been a large number of complaints regarding the funds that are being pumped in for the sake of conversions. The funds are pumped in and then distributed to smaller groups who use the same for forcible conversions.

The biggest headache is however the NGOs which are being fed from countries such as Saudi Arabia. These are the funds which are pumped in and parked in NGOs which are used for terrorist activities.

The Home Ministry says that these NGOs which have their bases abroad will be put under the scanner and that country too would be informed regarding the same. All the money that would be coming in would be monitored very closely and the spending would be scrutinized as well. All three types of activities as mentioned above are grave offenses and the punishment that would follow too would be severe, an official informed.

The government of India which has often been soft on NGOs as it was believed that they were harmless has now decided to up the ante. There have in the past been very few cases where such activities have resulted in prosecution, but this time around the Government says that the punishment would be stringent. The Financial Task Action Force too would be on its heels and would pick up any small diversion of funds and initiate criminal proceedings. In addition to this the government would also place under the scanner the registered NGOs too and watch all fund movements initiated by them.

The intentions of a man called Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary
Anjem Choudary. Photo courtesy: http://pohdiaries.com/

Anjem Choudary who has sought for the implementation of the Sharia law in India had stated that he would hold a rally in New Delhi on March 3. The Delhi police have however stepped up arrangements to ensure that no such rally would be held. Choudary meanwhile on his website has chosen not to disclose the location of the event, but states that media passes would be issued. In all probability he may go ahead with the live streaming option which is available on his website on March 3.

The Muslims in India have however not subscribed to his views and call him a publicity monger and a self styled defender of Islam. Ch0udary who is a lawyer by profession calls himself as the judge of the Sharia court in London. He has been very vocal about the Sharia law and feels that it needs to be implemented in all countries that have Muslims in them.

Choudary was born in England and was a solicitor. He also studied medicine before doing his law. While the Indian agencies say that he had been more vocal about his cause in the Western countries his close association with a man by the name Omar Bakri Muhammad is what is worrying them. When they first met in London they set up the Al-Muhajiroun which was later on banned thanks to its extreme Islamic views. Earlier the duo were involved a lot in the affairs of the West but over the past couple of years there has been an increased interest in Asia- Bangladesh in particular. Bakri joined the Hizb-ut-Tahrirr which was originally formed in Jerusalem in the year 1953. He then left for Saudi Arabia where he went about his preachings only to be expelled from that country in the year 1985. Following this he went back to London where he launched a wing of this outfit.

The target audience of this outfit was the youth and it went on to become stronger in college campuses where nothing but hate was preached. During this campus campaign Bakri managed to recruit a large number of persons who were sent into various other countries where he thought that Islam was under threat.

However the real rise of this outfit HT in Asia was seen when they made a strong appearance in Bangladesh. Very recently this outfit was in the news following the failed coup that took place in Bangladesh. This gave the Intelligence Agencies particularly in India sleepless nights as they believe that they would be trying to make a ground on Indian soil as well. Moreover the attempt to bring down Sheikh Hasina who is seen as pro India was yet another reason for the IB to believe that they were taking a long shot at India.

Now what has Indian agencies more worried is that Choudary who has called for a march in New Delhi has also announced that Bakri would be one of the speakers during this event. Now Bakri is a person that India just cannot ignore considering his antecedents across the world and his openness in criticising India. Bakri who is closely associated with the HT could be coming to India to garner support among the Muslim youth and the intention would be to cause unrest within the country.

Agencies are keeping a close watch on every movement and believe that they could have spread their tentacles in certain areas especially in the National capital. The first attempt that the HT made was two years back when it staged a demonstration against Israel’s meddling in Palestine. They are aware that this is a very touchy subject among some radical Indian Muslims. In fact there is no communication that has been sent out by the Indian Mujahideen which does not spell out the Palestine cause. The HT is aware of this and has been using this on and off when they try and recruit the youth from India.

The approach on Indian soil is a very guarded one. They have not shown any sort of aggression as yet and are espousing their cause through pseudo organisations. Moreover they are also acting swiftly now since they are aware that their movements are easier as there is no ban on it by the Indian government as yet.

Indian agencies feel that there is a need to be on guard against any such movement which is being planned by Choudary. The intention is to garner support and the implementation of the Sharia law which is being stated as the reason is just an excuse to make themselves be heard. Through such meetings and demonstrations they are only trying to get the attention of the people across the country and there are well aware that there are many who would fall trap to their ideology.

However Anjem Ch0udary on his website states that, “the proposed conference and demonstration that we are planning are in no way advocating any violence but rather a peaceful call for Muslims to ask for what Allah (SWT) has ordered them to do i.e. implement the Shari’ah in India and wherever they may be. As Muslims we believe sovereignty belongs to Allah and authority must be in the hands of Muslims. India prides itself on its so called inclusiveness, freedom and democracy and indeed the nationalist Hindu movements (such as the Congress, BSP and SP) are vying with each other to tell Muslims how much they like them and yet as soon as Muslims propose the Shari’ah (Islamic law for all) their so-called freedom of expression and religious freedom disappears to be replaced with dictatorship and bullying. Far from calling for enmity between religions, what we are proposing under the Shari’ah is for Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Jews to live under one law where their rights to food, clothing and shelter are secured and where each person’s religion, life, honour, wealth and mind are protected. Indeed the non-Muslims life and wealth is inviolable under Islamic law, the Messenger Muhammad (saw) himself said that he would be a plaintiff against anyone who violated the sanctity of a Zimmi (non-Muslim) under the Islamic State. Moreover, we are suggesting an end to the decades of violence in Kashmir and an end to the atrocities such as we saw in Gujarat and Babri.

The call for the Khilafah on the 3rd March 2012 is on the 88th anniversary of the destruction of the last Islamic State. Its re-establishment on Indian soil is not intended to outrage religious feelings but rather to imbibe a love to return India once more to the superpower it once was under Islamic rule, where Hind included what is today Pakistan and Bangladesh, all united under one just ruler. Not being oppressed under the whims and desires of politicians who make the law up with their hands, give rights today only to take them away tomorrow and who are infested with corruption, bribery and injustice which today plagues India. Not to mention the exploitation of the masses through Bollywood, drugs, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, usury etc, Chodary also points out.

Although there is no indication to show that the HT would resort to violence means at the moment, Indian agencies do not want to take any chances. There would be a close watch on every movement as they do not want another headache as they already have enough to deal with.