New Delhi, Dec 27: Four out of the 10 operatives arrested following the busting of an ISIS inspired module were from Amroha. Going by what the NIA has probed so far, it becomes clear that these men from Amroha had played a significant role in shaping the module.
Are some politicians linked to terrorists? If a terrorist is known to a politician does that mean he has a direct link with the activities of a terrorist organisation?
In West Bengal the Intelligence Bureau has very often complained about a political party doling out support to the Jammat-ul-Islami and the Chattra Shabir. In Kerala political outfits are accused of being kind of some radical members of the SIMI where as in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar it would be the Indian Mujahideen and in Hyderabad the HuJI.
The questioning of Indian Mujahideen operative Faizan Ahmed alias Faizan Azmiis proving to be quite an interesting. Right from the fact that he was an employee of Abu Azmi, the Samajwadi party leader to sheltering the boys involved in the Batla house case, the sleuths are gathering all sort of vital information.
His employment with Abu Azmi goes back to the year 1985. Azmi was running a travel agency then and Faizan had been employed there. According to the Intelligence Bureau officials Faizan and Azmi knew each pretty well since they hailed from Azamgarh. However IB sources tell rediff.com that they are not sure about the links they could have had after Faizan joined the IM. It could be a coincidence but will be probed as we would want to know what political support was provided to set up the IM’s deadliest module in Azamgarh.
The assassination plot which was busted in Karnataka has more to it and now police officials say that they are on the look out for the mastermind in the case. Although it was being said that Akram who was arrested on the first day of this probe was the mastermind, now the police say that these youth had a boss in Bangalore to whom they used to report. Police sources say that the man in question is Zakir Ustaad a resident of the JC Nagar area in Bangalore. It was he who had motivated these youth to carry out the operation. The entire operation was planned by Zakir along with Akram and they had marshalled the youth for this operation. During the questioning of all these youth it came to light that this person Zakir who is considered to be a criminal was the one who was staging the operation. It was Zakir who first approached Akram, a friend of Shahid Bilal before the this operation was planned. It was decided that they would gather like minded youth from various sections and also from different states and plan out an operation targeting Hindu leaders and also anti Muslim journalists. Ustaad who is said to be a point man for the HuJI in Karnataka is said to have picked Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad and also Maharashtra for this operation. Ustaad on the other hand coordinated with a handler in Saudi Arabia who helped with funds and also other support. They even took the help of the local underworld for this operation which had supplied them with arms and also money. Karnataka was the first in the hit list considering that it had a BJP government. They had picked journalists and also an MLA and placed them under their watch list. It was felt that the reaction to any assassination of this nature would get a horrible reaction and there could be riots all over. In the aftermath of riots it would have become easier for them to recruit more youth for similar operations. Moreover the HuJI has also been looking for newer recruits in Southern India and this operation would have helped a great deal. However they wanted to ensure that no person from the HuJI or any other terrorist outfit was roped in for this operation as they wanted to keep the heat low. Only the bigger operatives were from HuJI while the rest were handpicked ensuring that they had no trail what so ever. This team also chose youth in Hyderabad since there has been a bit of tension following the investigations into the Mecca Masjid blasts. A couple of corp orators have always been blamed for the manner in which the youth were targeted during the Mecca Masjid probe. It was being felt that there was change that was taking place in Hyderabad and hence eliminating the persons responsible for anti Muslim activities would help their cause and also enhance the recruitment process. In Uttar Pradesh the main reason for choosing a couple of youth was due to the various incidents that had taken place in Azamgarh. It is believed that there have been atrocities in the name of investigation and hence some leaders over there had to be targeted in a bid to seek revenge. There were also four arrests in Nanded. It is said that the first of the incidents concerning a Hindu group in an act of terror was busted at Nanded. It is believed that this group which was busted a couple of years back had planned on carrying out a blast and sought to blame the Muslims for the attack. Since then there has been some animosity and hence youth were chosen from there for this operation. The police say that picking up Zakir Ustaad would help the investigation. Being the point man in the operation he could give a more detailed explanation to the international link to the operation, police sources say. It is a country wide operation and the pieces are being joined together, the police say.
This is very clear going by the latest intercept the IB says. Bhatkal today is the Indian face of the outfit and he has a good reach in the country. While Amir Reza Khan continues to be the over all boss of the IM Bhatkal is still in charge of operations in India.
There are exactly 46 training camps in Pakistan today. Four are dedicated to the Indian Mujahideen and there are around 80 to 90 cadres all of Indian origin who train in these camps. The kind of training which is being imparted in handling of arms, preparing bombs and more important collection of intelligence.
For the IM the most important aspect would be to set up their modules once again in India. Currently the country is witnessing a strange wave of terror which are carried out by individuals. The IM is well aware of such a modus operandi but has let this continue as an interim measure. They had 60 modules across the country, but now it has been reduced to 25 and these do not have the full capabilities as of now.
Primary on their agenda would be to rebuild these modules and in this regard the Indian operatives sheltered in Pakistan would hold the key. Despite areas like Azamgarh, Old Delhi, Kerala and Hyderbad generating heat the IM would still aim at recreating modules in these areas. The other interesting aspect is the creation of modules in Gujarat which has been known for its tough terror laws. To create modules in these areas is a challenge but these groups have found the recruitment process to be easier due to various factors the main one being high communal sentiments.
The overall scenario if grim in the Indian perspective. It would continue to a battle for Indian security forces since Pakistan is just not ready to give up the Indian face of terror. There are limitations while launchin Pakistan based groups on Indian soild. There are issues of infiltration and international issues which act as a deterent for Pak based groups. Moreover a 26/11 type attack is not something they would like to have every now and then. Hence it becomes important to have a dedicated Indian group which can be a constant irritant.
The IB intercept also points towards training the IM operatives in water attacks. They do realise that the coasts are still vulnerable and hence would like to operate on sea. States such as Gujarat will need to be constantly on high alert due to this factor as what this group is planning are not terror attacks but a major war from within.
The recruitment drive is heavy and cadres are being picked up from all parts of the country. Terror groups have even set shop in religious places and a process to recruit youth from such places is on in full swing. They have the data base of at least 4000 families who they feel have been affected by police atrocities and hence such people are being tarhetted.
The IM will surely make a come back in the name of Brigade 313. It is expected to be lethal and would rely on all forms of attacks including fidayeen styled attacks. There would be focus not only on bomb blasts, but suicide attacks and also abductions and extortion rackets. The idea is chaos.
There have been a series of blasts in the past one and half years and watching the investigators closely who are working on these cases, it appears that the job ahead is tough. Although today the investigators have at least some leads on the Indian Mujhaideen’s Bullet 313 force, they do realise that this outfit had managed to take them on a ride for quite sometime which eventually led to a series of easy bombings.
The blast outside the Chinnaswamy stadium during the Indian Premier league two years back was the first of the signs to show that the Indian Mujahideen was very much alive. Down and out is what the IM had been termed as after a series of crack downs by the police after the blasts at Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi. It is true to a certain extent that the IM was down due to the want of funds and lack of operatives. However what the police had missed after the Chinnaswamy blasts was a very key operative by the name Yasin Bhatkal was very much in Karnataka and he did manage to very smartly give the police the slip.
Yasin Bhatkal who hails from the coastal town of Bhatkal was not a new name in the outfit. There was plenty of intelligence on the man and his details were very well known to the police. Now despite this he continued to operate in Chickmagalur in Karnataka and had set up a proper unit in the forest area over there. He stayed on in this place and built up the outfit and all along the police were in the dark about the same. This unit that was set up by him is what helped the IM carry out the Chinnaswamy blasts. Although it was on a very small scale, it did manage to send across a message that the IM wanted to.
Ironically after the blast at the stadium, he managed to give the slip and till date is being shown as wanted in police records. According to the IB there were inputs that were provided. In fact the Bhatkal brother, Riyaz and Iqbal before fleeing India 3 years back had operated majorly out of Chickmagalur and strangely enough the police were unable to find the necessary leads regarding Yasin who also used the same den.
Although he left Karnataka, he never left the country. This was evident during the German Bakery blasts at Pune in which the name of Yasin figured once again. It was on the basis of interrogation and some footage obtained by the police did they realise that Yasin had played a key role in this attack. However once again, Yasin after the blast managed to give the slip and today according to Intelligence Bureau officials, he has crossed over into Pakistan.
The Chinnaswamy and Pune blasts did mark the return of the IM. Although not as lethal as earlier, they did prove that they had the capabilities to carry out attacks at will. After these two blasts, there was a lull before they struck again at Varanasi a year back. It was considered to be a hurried operation, but it did manage to spruce up the cadres who continued to operate in Delhi and Azamgarh. The IM had found it hard to recruit newer cadres due to a lull in activity. However these blasts did manage to get their shop running once again.
All through what the police can blame themselves for is the fact that they had not acted enough despite having enough and more leads. While Yasin Bhatkal can be considered to be one big blunder the other is the interrogation of Danish Riyaz another key IM operative. They interrogated him for days together, but were never able to find out what exactly the IM was up to next. Despite being grilled he did manage to dodge investigators first about the name of the new outfit and also about its plans. He constantly told the police that there was a new outfit by the name Ansarul Muslimeen. He further stated that this outfit was directly linked to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and had nothing to do with the IM. Despite knowing fully about the details of Yasin, he remained mum about the same which again became a stumbling block for the police probe. With regard to the IM, he constantly maintained that it was over and there was no way in which they could have regrouped. He spoke about the lack of funds and the fact that none of the cadres were interested in carrying on terror activities. He further misled the police regarding the whereabouts of Tauqeer also known as Abdus Subhan. He told them once that Tauqeer was in Ranchi and later said that he must have crossed over the border.
A larger goal- The IB says that this cat and mouse game will continue and it is necessary for the police to watch the movements of these IM or Bullet 313 operatives very closely. The blasts right from Chinnaswamy to Delhi (high court) are all attempts to test the waters. As has been pointed out before there is a need for these groups to carry out such activity for the sake of funds and recruitments. Moreover there is a lot of talk about the Karachi Project aimed directly at India and key operatives of the IM such as Amir Reza Khan and the rest are in constant talks regarding the same. Although this is a plan hatched in Pakistan they are looking for a very strong home grown outfit to carry out this attack and they find their answer in the Indian Mujahideen.
The past two years have seen four blasts all orchestrated by the IM. These may be fringe elements but with each blast they have only improved in their strategy which itself is a good enough indication that they are setting up their shop once again. The recent spate of blasts have given many
The past two years have seen four blasts all orchestrated by the IM. These may be fringe elements but with each blast they have only improved in their strategy which itself is a good enough indication that they are setting up their shop once again. The recent spate of blasts have given many young operatives the inspiration to join the IM. However more importantly it has also generated a keen interest in the sympathisers of the group to push for more funds.
The police may or may not crack the four cases in totality and there will be a lot of unanswered questions at the end of it. The road ahead is however tough since the police today find that there are many more modules which have come up and the number of opratives too are increasing with each passing day. The most important aspect of the probe would be to go back to the likes of Chotu, Sadiq Shaikh, Danish Riyaz amonth others who can for sure give a better picture of what is in store, the IB points ou