Srinagar, Jan 13: He has been part of many lists and was categorised as a Grade A++ terrorist. Zeenat Ul Islam, the dreaded terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, an Al Badr commander was killed by security forces on Saturday.
On the night of January 31 2011, two sisters were dragged out of their homes in Sopore, taken to a nearby mohalla and shot dead at point blank range. People watched in horror as one was shot in the eye while the other in the chest. For the family of Akthara, 20 and Arifa, 17 justice was done on Friday when the killer of these girls was shot dead in an encounter.
Muzzafar Ahmad Naikoo, alias Muz Molvi, was a resident of Sopore and had been evading arrest for the past eight years. He had a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head, and was earlier associated with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba as ‘chief assassin’, but later switched his loyalties to the Al-Badr.
In a successful operation, the Indian Army on Saturday gunned down an Al-Badr militant Muzzafar Ahmed. The encounter is considered to be an important one considering the organisation the slain terrorist hailed from.
The Al-Badr, an Islamic militant group which was established in 1998 was proscribed by the Indian government in 2002.
If the Lashkar-e-Tayiba starts recruiting it cadres from Indian jails then the situation is nothing but pathetic. Abdul Rehman, an alleged terror operative from Bangalore is one such person who was recruited as an Lashkar operative while he was cooling his heals off in the Bangalore jail in connection with an arms smuggling case.
The Bangalore police makes this shocking revelation in its remand application which was filed while seeking the custody of Abdul Rehman a resident of the Chamrajpet area in Bangalore. The police go on to state that Rehman came in contact with Fahad an Al-Badr terrorist in jail who had links with the Lashkar. After being brainwashed for nearly four months, Rehman decide to adopt the path of the Lashkar and carry out a series of blasts and also assassination of Hindu leaders in the country.
What is most surprising about this remand application is that the police not only say that Rehman was brain washed by Fahad but he was also given jihadi material to study before he was convinced to take up jihad. The police also go on to state that during his stay in jail for four months, he even spoke with some handlers of the Lashkar in Pakistan.
This raises two very crucial questions. How did Fahad manage to smuggle in jihadi material into jail? How did Rehman have access to a cell phone and that too called Pakistan several times and speak with a handler over there? The norms regarding a call to Pakistan are extremely strict and is under heavy scrutiny of the Intelligence Bureau. Take the case of the man from Bijapur who just gave a missed call to the cell phone of Hina Rabbani. The man was tracked in no time. In such an event how did so many calls go through to Pakistan unnoticed. Also one must not forget that the jails are filled with jammers and unless someone manually takes them down a call cannot be made at all.
The other question is how did Rehman who was in the general section of the prison come in contact with Fahd a terrorist. Terrorists are usually kept in different cells and are not allowed contact normally with the rest of the prisoners.
The case of the police against Rehman is as follows. A resident of Chamrajpet, he was arrested a couple of months back in connection with an arms case where in he had supplied arms to a local gangster. During his stay in jail he came in contact with Fahd who brainwashed him into taking up jihad. Fahd has been in the Bangalore jail since 2008. During his four month stay in jail he was given access to jihadi material and thoroughly brainwashed following which he decided to undertake the operation to assassinate Hindu leaders and also carry out some explosions. The police say that after Rehman served out his sentence he came out of jail and even during this time he stayed in touch regularly with his handlers in Pakistan.
Jail authorities in Bangalore when contacted had not much to say about this development. They say they have no knowledge of this incident. When asked as to why Fahd had suddenly been shifted out of the Bangalore jail and moved to a jail in Dharward Karnataka, they said that it was due to an IB alert.
If one may recall there was a hue and cry that had been created when the Kerala government had spoken about calls being made from their jails to Kerala. As part of that investigation there was a team from the IB which had also visited Bangalore jail and carried out a similar investigation. Although the details of that probe is not entirely known piece meal information regarding the same suggests that some Pakistani terrorists had made calls to their relatives. The investigation is yet to be completed on this case.
The case of Rehman raises a lot of questions of the security in jails. Although the police have just filed these details in a remand application it would be interesting to see if they would go ahead with this version when the trial against Rehman begings. As of now the police say that Rehman is a very big catch and they need time to interrogate him so that they get more details regarding his operation. The police say that he had big plans and had they not apprehended him it would have been nothing short of a disaster for security.
A major conspiracy is brewing in South India and the Intelligence Bureau, National Investigating Agency and local police are studying this case. There have been many incidents in the past couple of months which have led investigators to believe that there is a coming together of various outfits to wreck havoc in Southern India.
Firstly calls to Pakistan were intercepted from the prisons of Kerala. Then there was a bomb found on the route that L K Advani had taken during his recently concluded yatra. This was followed by the police tracking calls being made from a Bangalore jail. The latest of the incidents was the arrest of a key Indian Mujahideen operative along with his associates from Chennai.
The arrest of these youth is probably first of the concrete actions taken by the investigating agencies after calls from the jails were intercepted. Investigators are not trying to join the dots taking all the above mentioned incidents into account. Today they have found that terror groups are trying and combining several like minded outfits and creating a formidable force in Southern India. What has been found so far is that outfits such as the Indian Mujahideen, Al-Badr and the Al-Umma are joining hands in order to carry out terror strikes in Southern India.
Although the arrest of Mohammad Ishrath Khan has revealed that he was in the know of a conspiracy to carry out a terror strike in Bangalore, he however had no direct connection to this incident. Hailing from New Delhi, he was down in Chennai to procure weapons which gave the police an indication that a terror strike was being planned in Nothern India as well.
The calls that were made from jail is what set the ball rolling. They were a series of calls that were being made to Pakistan and also parts of Uttar Pradesh. The investigators are still studying the transcripts in detail and so far have found that the calls were being made about creating a major force in South India and also carrying out a deadly strike in Bangalore.
The Indian Mujahideen which has its strongest presence in Karnataka was trying to rope in both the Al-Umma and the Al-Badr which are stronger in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. All these outfits are ideologically similar and hence the coming together of these outfits was not exactly a difficult job. Moreover there has been a constant tussle to set the network in Tamil Nadu. Barring a couple of incidents there has really not been much of activity in Tamil Nadu. Terror groups have been testing the waters in so far as Tamil Nadu. They have been gradually building up their modules on a smaller scale.
During the investigations the police found that they wanted to set up more modules in Tamil Nadu while they would continue to send the recruits in from Karnataka to strenghthen the base. Kerala which has been considered to be a play ground for these groups would continue to be used to fund operations and also transit point for arms and ammunition.
The calls that have been made from jail will hold the key to these investigations. It is clear that those terrorists who have been in jail were making the calls to Pakistan to discuss the new operations that they have been planning in Southern India. Apart from the calls that were made by hawala operatives from the Kerala jail, the NIA has also been probing the calls that were made from the Bangalore jail. The NIA apart from questioning two members Mohammad Hussain and Fahad both of whom belong to the Al-Badr faction have also detained two more youth who were in regular contact with these men.
The IB says that Tamil Nadu is a state that one must watch out for. First it was the underworld that penetrated into this state and this was followed by terror groups. It had become a major drug transit point and later on fake currency too was pumped in. The Al-Umma in particular has its roots in Tamil Nadu. This group which shot into the limelight post Babri Masjid has been planning several strikes in the state. However there was a major crack down on the outfit and it was weakened to a large extent. Today they are using the services of both the Indian Mujahideen and also the Al-Badr to improvise their position in the region. The recent plot on the Advani yatra route is also being attributed to the Al-Umma.
The crack down two days back at Chennai also goes on to show that these outfits have been targeting youth in colleges. In all the IB and the Tamil Nadu police picked up four persons which include three engineering student and one MBA student. They were picked up along with their uncle who hails from Delhi. This is a cause for concern since penetration into colleges has always had a bad effect on national security. The idea and motive is clear and they are forming a force with the help of educated youth so that attacks have more precision. The first wave of attacks carried out by the Indian Mujahideen had caused a lot of destruction and this was primarily to do with the fact that it had been planned to perfection by educated youth.
NIA sources say that there is still a while left for the investigations to be completed. We have a fair idea of what is being planned and it appears that they have intentionally used cell phones from jails to plan future operations as one usually does not suspect such operations being planned out of jails. It is clear that the message had come from Pakistan and on the basis of this some youth were sent to meet these terrorists in jail and were told to plan the operation from there.