A perfect tactic

If the investigating agencies do manage to establish that it is the Indian Mujahideen which has carried out these blasts, then it would be confirmed that this attack was carried out due to diversionary tactics.

Currently at least 20 crucial members of the IM were under investigation by the National Investigating Agency and vital clues were spilling out as part of the probe. Although it has been extensively claimed by the police that they have managed to break the IM to a large extent, the fact remains that the police were unable to do much about the re-grouping of this outfit.

There are several 1000 fringe elements of this group who continue to be part of sleeper cells and modules across the country and there was a gradual process which was taking place which involved the re-grouping of this dreaded outfit.

While a large chunk of the job pertaining to the arrests was undertaken by the police what the NIA had sought to do is ensure that this outfit does not regroup and become a further menace. The NIA during its investigation had started to get a fair idea of the operations of this organization. In addition to this a lot of data had been collected on the existing cells/modules and also the manner in which they have been trying to re-group.

What these blasts have achieved is to create a diversion to the ongoing investigation into home grown Jihad and its revival. New theories will be floated now and investigating agencies would take some time to understand the nuances of this blast. These blasts would act as a perfect diversionary tactic for most of the cadres to start their re-grouping process while the investigating agencies are too busy handling the case on hand.

Security experts go on to add that there is no doubt that this outfit is trying to stage a come back and this blast could just be the beginning of that effort. Investigators should remain focused not only on this case, but also on the various aspects they have been working on and should not let this incident come in the way of that.

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Seven places on high alert

Following the serial blasts today the places which have been identified as potential targets of the Indian Mujahideen are Jaipur, New and Old Delhi, Ahmebabad, Mangalore, Bangalore and Goa.

Intelligence Bureau officials say that these are the areas which the IM has picked and they have been trying to regroup from these areas. These are the areas of concern at the moment, the IB says. Although most of their cells in these areas have remained inactive over the past couple of months, there is every possibility that attacks such as these give them the encouragement to carry out further attacks.

If one does notice, the above mentioned places have seen a lot of activity by the Indian Mujahideen in the past couple of years. Their major cells and modules have been operating out of these places. Although Azamgarh had always been their favourite hide out, they have ensured to keep attacks out of this place for very obvious reasons, the intelligence agencies point out.

All the police units of these places have been told to be on very high alert and also curb any suspicious movement in these areas. The cadres who are responsible for this latest attack could try and move into any of these places since they have created safe hide outs in these areas, the IB also says.

An expert bomb maker and home grown Jihad

It is home grown Jihjad with the help of an external hand which helped assemble the bomb. Investigations show that the bombs assembled for the serial blasts were done by a professional. With the top bomb makers of the Indian Mujahideen under custody in various police stations across the country, the investigators are examining the possibility of a bomb maker from outside the country being involved in this attack.

The Indian Mujahideen-Lashkar-e-Tayiba link appears to be the strongest as of now since all leads at the moment point towards the two outfits. Indian investigators are examining the possibility of an external hand in these blasts since a couple of incidents in the past have been flop shows for the Indian Mujahideen.

The IM had at least ten experts in preparing the bombs. While a couple of them are away from the country the rest happen to be in custody. The IM on the past couple of ocassions had always got the making of the bombs wrong. A careful examination of the recent spate of attacks go on to show that the bomb maker had gone wrong while placing the detonators. In all the past instances at Old Delhi and also outside the Delhi High Court, investigations and forensics have shown that the detonator had malfunctioned. This has led the investigators to believe that a man from outside could have been roped in to assemble the bombs to carry out this attack.

All possible angles are being probed at the moment a source in the police department said. The material used for the blasts will be sent for forensic examination and this will help determine many more aspects to the bomb. At the moment while looking at the explosions it becomes clear that the attack was a coordinated one and the attack was carried out by a set of professionals.

Looking at the cadres of the IM at the moment, it is clear that they have sought the help of some persons from outside to carry out this attack, investigators also add while continuing investigations into the case.

Blasts despite the alert

Photo courtesy: TOI

As the investigations into the serial blasts progress, it becomes clear that the police were caught napping despite warnings and alerts from the Intelligence Bureau over the past couple of months.

Intelligence Bureau intercepts go on to suggest that the Indian Mujahideen has been making desperate attempts to strike back. First they made an attempt just before the Common Wealth Games and then an attempt was made at Varanasi. The most recent one was at the Delhi High Court. In all these cases the explosions were of low intensity. Barring the Varanasi blasts in all other incidents the detonators had malfunctioned, but today they seem to have got it right.

The Mahatashtra ATS has always been the target of the Indian Mujhahideen and there have been blasts everytime there have been arrests made. The most recent were two arrests of Indian Mujahideen cadres who were involved in the Gujarat blasts. Guaging by the mails that the IM had sent out in the past, the ATS has always been spoken about. The IB had warned that security should be at an unprecedented high following the arrest of any Indian Mujahideen cadre.

However this does not appear to be an immediate retaliatory measure and the planning was on for a couple of months since the attacks were not hurriedly executed. It just appears that they have timed it to retaliate against the recent spate of attacks, the IB adds.

The intelligence bureau does not rule out more such attacks and adds that this is the time that the outfit has been trying to re-group and hence would look to announce its return by carrying out such brazen attacks.

There have been indications that in the past couple of weeks about a possible terror strike and the police too had been warned about the same. Although routine checks and balances were in place, the police have been caught unawares by the entry and exit of certain fringe elements of the IM into the city.

The other targets that security agencies have been speaking about are Delhi and Bangalore. There is unprecedented security at the moment in these places and the entry and exit of all persons is being closely monitored.

LeT angle being probed

Intelligence Bureau officials are not ruling out a Lashkar-e-Tayiba hand behind the attack. Sources in the IB said that while this blast bears the signature of the Indian Mujahideen, they could have very well got the help of the Lashkar to execute this attack.

The city is filled with several of their sleeper cells and some fringe elements of the IM continue to be active here, the IB says. While the IM locals could have worked out the logistics, material and financial support could have been provided by the modules of the Lashkar. However it is not necessary that the local Lashkar modules or the IM modules in the city could have executed the attack. We are examining the southern, UP and also the Delhi modules who could have carried out this attack, IB sources also add.

Both these outfits have been looking to carry out attacks in the city. There are many reasons for this. The main retailiation is because they believe that the Maharashtra ATS had played a primary role in busting a large part of the IM. Moreover the Lashkar too has a similar complaint since post 26/11 there have been many raids within the city and surrounding areas which have led their modules to be busted, the IB also adds.

The blasts appear to be carried out to send across a strong signal. There is the Indo-Pak talks also which one has to bear in mind. The country has witnessed similar incidents in the back drop of such talks and this one is no different, investigating agencies point out. The day has also been chosen carefully and we believe that they have been trying to make a statement since it incidentally happens to be the birthday of Ajmal Kasab. Although there is no major significance in the same, they do like to make their attacks memorable which again is true of the Indian Mujahideen which has brash operatives who like to throw open a challenge.

Blasts on Kasab’s birthday

July 13 incidentally is the birth date of Ajmal Kasab, the man convicted for the horrific 26/11 attack. The blasts today ironically occurred on the same date as his birthday and investigating agencies are also studying whether this blast was carried out to co incide with his birthday.

We cannot say anything about that said an investigating officer. It could be connected and terrorists are into the habit of carrying out attacks on such dates with an intention of sending out a message, an IB source said.

Kasab who is facing a death penalty was born on July 13 1987.

 

 

 

Terror attack carefully planned

Investigators who are looking for leads into this case say that this was a planned attack and has been planned over a couple of months. The targets have been chosen carefully. Not only are these areas sensitive in nature, but they are crowded too thus making it a perfect spot for terrorists to strike.

Looking at the manner in which these blasts have been planned, it becomes clear that the intention of the terrorist group was not to create a scare, but to create major damage. It also becomes clear that the terrorist group had planned on carrying out an attack in a crowded place and have even chosen the evening time to carry out this attack.

Sources in the intelligence bureau say that the attack has been planned out and carefully executed. Groups such as the Indian Mujahideen have been waiting to carry out a strike and their fringe elements are still out on the run who could have executed this attack. We are picking up leads from the eye witnesses and it is still very early to come to any definitive conclusion regarding the same.

Serial blasts again

The serial blasts have been confirmed as terror attacks according to the Intelligence Bureau.  The Home Ministry while confirming the same has declared a red alert across the nation.

A team of the Intelligence Bureau which is examining the case says that it is too early to determine as to who is behind this blast. However we are examining the Indian Mujahideen angle, IB sources also add.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that 7 IEDs were used and the explosive device was wrapped in cloth bags and tiffin carriers. This bears the signature of the Indian Mujahideen, a member of the NIA who is also investigating the case says.

The entire nation has been put on high alert following this attack. These groups may try and trigger off similar blasts in other parts of the country and hence all police stations have been put on high alert, IB sources also add.

Telangana gears up for new political outfit

 

Photo courtesy: The Hindu

As Telangana braces up for yet another round of battle demanding a separate state, all the leaders who resigned to their posts have embarked upon a mass hunger strike. The leaders who are parked in Hyderabad will be on fast in a bid to pressurise the government to speed up the process to declare a separate Telangana state.

Even as the government tries to buy more time in deciding on this issue, all the leaders who have resigned to their posts already have their future course of action planned out. A further delay in announcing a separate Telangana would only result in the formation of a new political outfit called the Telangana Political Join Action Committee. The leaders from both the Congress and the TDP who have resigned have decided that if Telangana is not declared then they would not contest the elections under the banner of their existing party. All the leaders would come under the fold of the Telangana Political JAC and contest the elections on that banner.

This would effectively mean the end of all other political parties in the Telangana region since these leaders are riding very high on the sympathy factor that they have from the voters after they put in their papers. In addition to this, they are also riding high on the promise made by K Chandrasekara Rao of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi. He had said if these leaders resign and have to face the bypolls, he would not field any candidate against them which would ensure that they win the polls unopposed literally.

In the days to come there are expected to be a couple of developments with the Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh assembly coming back into town. All the resignations have been kept in abeyance as of now and the speaker’s arrival was being awaited to make this decision. However sources now indicate that he may not accept the resignations stating that the decision was an emotional one and taken in haste. This is being considered as a good ground to reject the resignations.

The leaders who have resigned however are aware of the back lash they will face from the protesting public if they sit quiet. While embarking on their hunger strike they have assured the public that they will put in their papers once again if they resignations are not accepted. There is no way in which we will continue in the government until our demands are met, the leaders have also assured the people of Telangana.

Meanwhile the statements made by Ghulam Nabi Azad on the Telangana issue has come under severe fire by the activists of the movement. Azad had said yesterday that a decision would be taken once the Assembly passes a unanimous resolution on the issue. It makes no sense and being in such an important position he should understand the law better, the activists said. Article 3 of the Indian Constitution makes it clear that in such matters a resolution by the assembly is not necessary. It is for the Union Government to decide on the issue. A decision has to be taken by the Union Cabinet and a Bill should be passed. Once the President signs on the bill it has to be sent to the state assembly for an opinion. This is just a routine procedure and there is no onus on the state government to act first on the issue.

Was Moily the right choice in the first place?

First a rant and then a change in stand. Veerappa Moily who was handed over the Corporate Affairs Ministry after being shunted out as the Law Minister says he has no comments to offer regarding his infamous vested interests comment that he had made yesterday.

I am happy with this new assignment and I am grateful that the Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister have entrusted me with this job, he said when asked. I will focus on my new portfolio and this is an important ministry and I will look to take it forward by doing some very good work.

Moily’s exit from the law ministry was an expected one and as the Supreme Court began to pile on the misery on the Government of India almost all had said that the law minister will be the first target during the re-shuffle. Moily did come across as a person who was interested in judicial reforms and certain statements made by him did indicate the same. However his critics say that they remained mainly statements and even blame him for not being assertive enough when it came to taking hard decisions.

This brings us to a crucial question as to how important is the position of a law minister. Several lawyers point out that it has not been a very high profile ministry but in today’s context when there are more scams than ministers in a government, the position of a law minister becomes extremely important in nature.

Former Law Minister of Karnataka, M C Nanaiah who was the leader of the opposition when Moily was the Chief Minister has this to say about the recent development.

I personally have seen Moily functioning very closely. He lacked a crucial quality and that was to keep his team together. In today’s context, the Law Ministry is a very crucial post. The government is battling many cases and hence a strong law minister is required. The government is going through a very rocky phase as of today and Moily on the other hand had been shooting his mouth off too much which in turn has only angered the government. It looks as though by making this change, the government was looking for a more sane and competent person.

A law minister needs to be an expert and a proper aptitude is required for this post. The statements that are made by a law minister need to carry weight and I would not rate Moily very high. Even during his tenure as the Chief Minister, he did not carry the conviction that was required.

With the government facing the flak of the Supreme Court today, it is the law minister who has to coordinate the law officers and face the court. Today unfortunately for Moily who should have been more pro active it is not the vested interests who have ensured this change, it is his own vested interest which has brought about the change for him.

Just after being changed, Moily had said in New Delhi that no one likes reforms and he was doing everything to introduce a change. A lot of things are the fault of the administrative ministry and it has nothing to do with us. We are only the face in the court, he had also said. However today Moily refuses to comment on all that he had said yesterday and only says that he is looking forward to his new portfolio. My top priority today is to pass a new bill which would replace the  Companies Act. I have to see this bill through and this is a major challenge before me he also added.

Sources in New Delhi however add that the issue is not all that simple. The government found the law ministry to be a completely mismanaged one. There were dual representations in the 2G scam where Gopal Subramainam was concerned and this had led to several conflicts of interest. The ministry has come under fire several times and to add to the head ache the Supreme Court was going hammer and tongs against the Government. In New Delhi they were looking for a man with more aptitude and also who could be more assertive by nature. In Moily they found more of an academic and they were looking for someone more shrewd. Moreover he was also dealing under the shadow of a very pro active former law minister, H R Bharadwaj who on several levels was considered to be the perfect candidate for the post.

Justice Santhosh Hegde, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India says that the duty of the law minister is to advise the government on all matters before the Supreme Court of India. If the Supreme Court has taken up an issue suo motu, it is for the Law Minister to advise the government on how to go about it.

I however will not accept the argument that a law minister has to be a constitutional expert. No person can an expert on all subjects and political and legal personalities are completely different. As a law minister apart from having a fair idea of the law, he needs to be diplomatic. In the case of Moily, I think he has been changed mainly because the government did not find the representation before the Supreme Court effective enough. What Moily ideally had to do was to take stock of the situation and advised the government properly. The cases before the Supreme Court are of supreme importance and it is the job of the law minister to ensure that the government is represented properly before the court.

A mess called Telangana

One look at the Telangana issue and you could easily say it is one big mess. Leaders have resigned, the government has a solution on hand but is waiting to announce it and then there is also the sentiments that the entire state of Andhra Pradesh has attached to the capital city of Hyderabad.

While speaking to various people regarding this issue, one gets the general impression that they want this issue to be over with since it is becoming messier with each passing day. Today the Congress has a formula on hand and that is to hand over Telangana and retain Hyderabad as a common capital for at least ten years. The agitators from Telangana and also the intellectuals had always opposed sharing a capital, but today there is a slight change in that stand.

Dr Sangam Prithviraj who has been spearheading the students movement on this issue says, “ do they want time to develop their own capital? Well then if that is the case let them take that time. We are not cruel people and do understand their sentiments. They are bound to feel insecure about losing Hyderabad since 80 per cent of the real estate is controlled by the people of Seema-Andhra,” he also adds.

G V L Rao, political analyst who has been watching this movement closely says that all that talk about a united Andhra Pradesh is trash. The issue is just Hyderabad. There is no doubt that real estate is the biggest issue over here and they would try and safeguard Hyderabad in order to protect their interests. Over the years they have invested a lot. Another issue is what the common man from the belts of Andhra and Rayalseema face. They have an emotional attachment for this city and take pride that this IT hub is their capital. Hence they would be fine if Hyderabad is retained as their capital too, he also adds.

The Congress has a lot at stake over here. In the beltbelts of Andhra and Rayalseema, Telangana is not an issue at all. The people over there expect a YSR kind of rule which this government has not been able to provide. This is what is giving Jagan Mohan Reddy the edge. Hence for the Congress to save all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh, not only would they have to grant Telangana, but would have to utilize the next three years providing better governance in the other two belts. Look at the manner in which YSR managed the votes from Telangana. He was never in favour of the movement, but did govern well and even the common people of Telangana did give him their votes.

The proposal by the Congress to hand out a separate state and then retain Hyderabad as the capital is a significant step. However what I feel is that their proposal to keep Hyderabad as a common capital only for a fixed amount of time would not go down too well with the people of Andhra and Rayalseema. Ultimately the government would have to ensure that Hyderabad is left out and made into a Union Territory. The people of Seema and Andhra would not want their real estate or their businesses to be part of Telangana. The movement has always been a violent one and they would not feel safe if Hyderabad remains in Telangana.

Keshava Rao one of the MP’s who has resigned was trying to meet with leaders of Rayalseem and Andhra to discuss this issue. Sources say that with the bone of contention remaining Hyderabad, he and the rest of the leaders wanted to hold a meeting and sort this issue out.

Now this brings us to the question as to who can bell the cat. The formula offered regarding Hyderabad needs to be a feasible option for all the three regions. The people of Telangana may accept a stop gap arrangement, but the question is will the people of the other two regions accept the same? Rao adds that this is when K Chandrashekara Rao would come into the picture. The Congress will look to him to address this issue to his supporters. The Congress does realize today that KCR is on the back foot following the resignations of all these leaders. In fact one could say that following the resignations of these MLAs, it is KCR who was seen as the lone crusader who has lost the most. If Congress were to announce a separate state then it would be advantage them. Hence in my opinion KCR would look for a tie up and would largely depend on the Congress. This the Congress would use to its advantage and ensure that he would be the one who would convey the message regarding a common capital or a Union Territory status for Hyderabad.

Rao adds that the leaders from Andhra and Rayalseema for the sake of everyone speak about a united Andhra Pradesh. However the issue is nothing but Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh does not have a major city like Hyderabad and this city has emerged as a major capital. It is an IT hub and is also seen as an employment opportunity for one and all from the state. The people of Seema-Andhra fear that if Hyderabad goes away then they could face discrimination. Apart from the huge real estate interest there is also a psychological issue regarding this place. He also adds that the people who have invested would want this issue over with. The agitation has killed the real estate prices and the sooner there is a solution, the better it is for their investments.

For the Congress addressing just the Telangana issue does not solve their headache in Andhra Pradesh. Political analysts say that at the moment Telangana is a non issue in Seema-Andhra and all these people would be content if Hyderabad is retained as the capital. If the Congress does manage this then their headache in so far as these two regions will be sorted out a great deal.

However this would not be the way to counter Jagan. As far as Andhra and Rayalseema are concerned he has an edge and is way ahead of the Congress today. However there are a couple of concerns with Jagan and that is whether he would be able to use this advantage. There are some cracks in his party with some of the leaders feel that he is only interested in his personal success. However these are not issues that the Congress could bank on since Jagan does enjoy major support from the public.

His statement on Telangana during the plenary of his party was a clear indication that he has no real fascination for this issue. They were evasive by nature which indicates that he wants to focus more on the rest of Andhra Pradesh. If the Congress does go ahead and declare Telangana then they would clearly beat him in this belt. While this would end the issue during the elections in the other two belts, the issue regarding the capital city could be raked up by Jagan. If the Congress decides to make Hyderbad as the common capital only for a limited period then Jagan could well say that the Congress was trying to cheat the people of Rayalseema and Andhra who have contributed so much for the city.

A decision on Telangana would safeguard the Congress in this region, but then for them to win in the rest of Andhra Pradesh against Jagan they would have to not only settle the issue of Hyderabad, but would have to ensure that Kiran Kumar Reddy becomes a functioning Chief Minister.

Rao adds that they will have to first settle the issue of Hyderabad as a permanent common capital or a Union Territory. Then they would have to get over the Jagan fixation and focus on governance, he also adds. Jagan at the moment is promising the moon and the Congress would have to do more than that to beat him.

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