The arrest of the 11 youth from Karnataka is just a tip of the ice berg of something big that was in store. Although the police have been associating the name of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami with these youth, the investigations so far would go on to show that this was an independent group which had a single point agenda and that was to protect Islam and eliminate all those who appeared to be a threat to the religion.
While the news regarding the Journalist and the Scientist made it to all the headlines, the more important person in this network was a person by the name Akram who goes by the alias Yusuf. If one looks at the background of this man, the HuJI link does surface since he was said to be a close associate of Shahid Bilal, the HuJI commander from Hyderabad who was killed a year after the Hyderabad twin blasts.
Akram whose information was passed on by the Andhra Pradesh intelligence wing is considered to be the leader of this gang and his job according to investigators was to marshal the youth who believed strongly that the religion was under threat. Akram had links with Shahid Bilal since the year 2004 and they had met a couple of times in Saudi Arabia.
While the Bangalore police claimed that the plot was to eliminate journalists and politicians in Karnataka, the bigger news is that there have been several calls found on Akram’s phone which gives the indication that it was a nation wide operation. During the investigation it was revealed that he was upset with the manner in which some persons were depicting the religion. He wanted to target those persons who had shown Prophet Mohammad in poor light and there was also an incident which upset him a great deal and that was the wrong depiction of the Kaba stone.
Akram according to the intelligence received funding from the underworld and he had decided to set up forces in every state and target those tarnishing their religion. They worked in a closed network while identifying like minded persons who felt strongly about such issues. Even the hard disks that have been seized by the police have a lot of material regarding atrocities against Muslims and some of the youth who have been arrested spoke very often to colleagues about how the community and religion were always under threat.
While Akram sought to carry out the executions with the help of the underworld, some of the youth who were working in high profile positions were tasked with the job of providing data. While the data regarding some politicians and journalists were provided, the final plan of assassination was not drawn up as yet. They were zeroing down on the targets and were to decide as to who had to be eliminated.
Akram will now be quizzed by the central agencies in order to find out whether he has set up similar groups in other states as well. We have managed to bust the Karnataka module, but his call records are indicative that there were more such operations that were being planned in other parts of the country as well.
Sources say that this groups cannot be directly linked to any terrorist group and were working individually. They had a handler in Saudi Arabia with whom they used to liaison with and also seek funds as and when it was required. The police say that they have been getting funds especially from the underworld apart from arms and ammunition to carry out their operation. While looking at the pistols that were seized they were of very high quality and was not picked up from a local market. However the only ammunition that has been found on them so far are the pistols thus giving a clear indication they were only about assassinations.
This group had it not been nipped so early could have grown stronger. They were in the process of setting up more such groups and identifying targets. They worked independent of terrorist groups since they felt that there would be no heat on them. Moreover many of them especially Akram believed that some wrong which was happening to the religion in the aftermath of the investigations into the terror cases were the handiwork of some politicians and also journalists. They felt that by carrying out a series of assassinations in various parts of the country, they could create a fear which in turn would prompt many to be more careful while speaking about their religion.
However this group was careful to chose their targets and have not included any police official in their list. They have only picked a handful of journalists who they believe were anti Islam and also a couple of politicians who have been speaking their mind off against their community.
This is just the beginning of the investigation and there is more to find out. We believe that similar persons have been identified in the Northern states as well. We are keeping a close watch of the kind of information that is being leaked out to such persons and are also ascertaining the content that many have stored in their computers and also the exact reasons behind it, sources in the investigating agency also pointed out.
Considering the strong links that Akram had with Bilal and the fact that they are from Hyderabad it has also increased the interest of the Andhra Pradesh police to find out if a similar group was functioning in their state as well. It is a relatively tough operation says an officer since there are many unassuming persons who are part of this plot. Investigations are on and we are scrutinising those who could be part of it, an AP police official informed.