Plot to kill Hindus in Bengaluru, Nanded, Hyderabad: NIA charges two Lashkar operatives

New Delhi, Feb 22: The National Investigation Agency has filed a chargesheet in connection with a Lashkar-e-Tayiba conspiracy case.

The NIA filed the chargesheet against, Dr. Sabeel Ahmed alias Motu Doctor of Bengaluru and Assadullah Khan of Hyderabad. 

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Were HuJI operatives in Hyderabad involved in human trafficking?

terThe questioning of Pakistani national Mohammad Nasir arrested in Hyderabad for his alleged links with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami has revealed several details which includes the possibility of sleeper cells being set up in the city.

Nasir was arrested along with five others last week by the Hyderabad police and their activities in the city are being probed.

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Delhi blast and the clueless probe

It has been almost two weeks since there was a blast in New Delhi in which an Isreali diplomat was injured. There have been various theories surrounding this attack and today it appears that the probe has hit a dead end.

Since the past couple of weeks both the agencies from Israel as well as the United States of America have given information on the attack. The CIA is said to have shared information with the Indian Intelligence on the case. It speaks about an Iranian link, but India has not been able to really confirm any such involvement as of now.

The details are still very sketchy said an official of the Delhi police and we do not want to jump the gun and come to any conclusion. The case is a bit political in nature and hence any wrong information or action could lead to a break down in international ties, the official also said.

This brings to us to the crucial question as to what exactly do the investigating agencies have on them regarding this case. The last known action was that they were studying a couple of calls that were made from Bangladesh’s Cox Bazaar to New Delhi a couple of days before the blast and also one on the same day. The police have found no connection what so ever between the calls and also the incident as of now. The investigators even looked into Harkat-ul-Jihadi link. However there was not sufficient evidence on hand to nail anyone with regard to this phone call.

The red bike was the next clue for the police and they did manage to seize one such bike believing that it was the same one on which the bomber was riding. The police are believed to have rounded many more such bikes and also questioned the owners only to realise that they had nothing to do with the incident. The police then dismissed the red bike theory stating that it was not leading them anywhere. They also have been investigating a cyclist theory behind this attack based on the confessions of the victims. This is at a preliminary stage, but the leads have not been encouraging as of now.

Further a couple of Iranian nationals were picked up from the Kalina area of Delhi and thoroughly questioned, but that too has not resulted in anything. Further they also tried to get their hand on more clues pertaining to both the blasts at Georgia and also Thailand. However as of now what the police say that it could have been a mere coincidence or even a stage managed job. The Indian agencies have been accused of being treading too carefully on this case as they do not want to harm their relations with Iran. Although both the US and Israel have pointed a finger at Iran, India would not jump to any conclusion and would prefer the investigation to be an independent affair. Further the Indian investigators also argue that going by the investigations in both Gerogia and also Thailand there is not much to connect it with the attack on New Delhi.

The forensics reports on the case have been slow to come by. There has been definitive evidence to show the use of a magnet which meant that the bomb had been stuck on to the vehicle. The investigators say that one cannot just come to the conclusion that if such a bomb was being used in the Middle East then it could be the same module behind the Delhi attack as well. It is not difficult to replicate this bomb. We are however leaving all options open and would like to bring out the truth rather than jumping to any conclusion.

Delhi blasts probe- what on earth is happening here

The probe into the Delhi blasts appears to be the most confusing one till date. Is it the Indian Mujahideen, the Hizbul Mujahideen or the Harkat-ul-Jihadi which has undertaken this blast? The most recent arrest of Dr Wasim and his interrogation go on to show that he has some links to the Hizbul Mujahideen, a terrorist organisation which is very active in the Jammu and Kashmir area.

While the confusion remains regarding the organisation that has carried out this blast, there is one thing that has been zeroed in and that is the operation which was carried out from Kashmir was controlled from Bangladesh. Most of the terrorist strikes on Indian soil are usually remote controlled from Pakistan. However in the case of the Delhi blast, it is clear that certain elements in Bangladesh had controlled this operation.

This is precisely what has made this probe extremely confusing. Going by the various intercepts and dossiers on all these outfits, it becomes clear that the HuJI has a bigger presence in Bangladesh when compared to the Hizbul Mujahideen. If one tends to stick to the basics then it is a clear cut HuJI operation controlled out of Bangladesh. Intelligence Bureau officials however do not rule out the possibility of various elements from different outfits coming together to carry out these blasts. Although a probe team will seek the help of Bangladesh for more details on this case, more angles internally would be looked into.

NIA sources say they are piecing together the details and would require more time to crack down on the case. There has been a mail from the Indian Mujahideen and also the HuJI after the blasts. At the moment it does not appear as though any dedicated organisation carried out the attack, but what we see is the coming together of several youth to carry out this strike. There has been a deliberate ploy to mislead the investigators and hence there have been so many mails. Moreover each of the youth during their questioning has given out different names of the outfits which has made this probe even tougher. The mail was sent out by the HuJi first and then the IM claimed responsibility. Further it came to light that the man who planted the bomb belonged to the HM.

The investigators have questioned several cadres of the Hizbul Mujahideen. They have even questioned a youth by the name Azhar Ali who belongs to the same outfit. However from Ali the NIA did not get much information and only realised that he is a recruiter for the HM who picks up youth for the Kashmir battle. They also questioned a youth by the name Abid but have not got much details from him barring the fact that he had something to do with the mail that was sent out in the name of the HuJI after the blasts.

At the moment it appears as though there is a dead end to the probe. There would be very heavy reliance on the information that the agency would get from Bangladesh. There is a request that has been sent seeking more details about the operations of both the HM and the HuJI over there.

During the interrogation of Dr Wasim there is really nothing much the probe agencies have been able to pick up. His father has been crying foul and even went on to say that his son had met the NIA only to coopearate with the investigation. He never expected that he would be made an accused in the case. Moreover the questioning of Dr Wasim and Abid Hussain also in the NIA custody has more details regarding the creation of the email than the actual blast that took place.

However it appears that the NIA is taking a long shot with the help of Dr Wasim to get to his brother Junaid Malik who has traces of the HM association. According to the investigators it was Junaid who was present in Delhi and may be the one who planted the bomb. There are three men that the NIA is looking out for at the moment and they feel that they would be able to provide more leads into the case. Junaid Malik appears to be a key person in this probe since the NIA feels that he is the one who planted the bomb at Delhi. They are also looking for Amir Kamaal who was with Junaid on the day the blast took place. Jahangir Saroori is also another person on the NIA radar.

Interestingly all these men are from the Hizbul Mujahideen and according to investigators each one had a very vital role to play in this attack. The probe so far shows that Amir had carried the explosives to Delhi while Junaid planted the same. As far as Jahangir is concerned he is the one who procured the explosives according to the investigations. Amir is said to be an area commander of the HM while the other two are commanders for the HM.

While this part of the probe is being looked into by the NIA, the Intelligence Bureau is closely looking into the movement of HM operatives. The HM has all these years restricted its fight to Kashmir and has not really looked at carrying out attacks in other Indian cities like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or the Indian Mujahideen. There is a fixed pattern in the manner in which these outfits carry out terror strikes and hence we feel that it must be an operation that was carried out with the coming together of a couple of youth. This is exactly why there is no proper intercept on this incident because if it were to be a full fledged HM operation then there would have been proper traces leading up to the outfit. However we are looking into it, the IB also pointed out.

Delhi blasts-Is Waseem the man?

Has the National Investigating Agency got their man? The premier agency set up to probe incidents of terrorism in India has picked up a youth by the name Waseem Akram Malik while he was on his way to Dhaka and are currently questioning him regarding his alleged involvement in the Delhi High Court blast case which occurred last month.

Although NIA officials are not revealing much about Malik, they just say that he hails from the Kishtwar area and certain leads regarding him led to his arrest. The questioning is on at the moment and he will be produced before the court soon, an NIA official said. We have certain leads and would not like to divulge much at this juncture, but be rest assured that the probe is on the right track.
Sources however add that Waseem is the brother of Junaid Malik who is associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen which has its strengths in Kashmir . Waseem on the other hand does not have too much of a trail on him and the investigators have not been able to ascertain as yet whether he is part of the Indian Mujahideen or the Harkat-ul-Jihadi. The entire plot regarding Waseem Malik came to light following the tapping of his phone calls which were made to several persons. The agency also had questioned a lot of his friends before arresting him. They believed that Waseem was fleeing to Dhaka when he was arrested. The other leads available is that Waseem was one of the youth who was allegedly involved in the planning of the Delhi blasts. They had used the name of the HuJI after the blasts. However there was no clear cut link to this outfit and all aspects of the probe were leading up to the Indian Mujahideen. However the NIA continued to dig deeper into the HuJI link stating that nothing could be ruled out. Some youth of the IM could have used the name of the HuJI or this outfit itself could have carried out the attack, agency sources also added.
Regarding Waseem, they are trying to find out about his conversation he had with the rest of the members and also his association with the likes of Abid Hussain Bhawani and Amir Abbas Dev who were also allgedely part of the plot. The NIA has questioned at least 75 members from Kishtwar and during the course of their investigation they have found that the entire plan was hatched in this area itself.
Whether it was the resurrection of the HuJI or the IM in Indian operations is something only a further probe will tell. In addition to the arrest of Waseem, the NIA also has in its custody three other youth who were part of the gang which sent out the email after the blasts in which HuJI took responsibility for.
Sources say that the fact that he was going towards Dhaka the home of the HuJI is not a sufficient ground to come to the conclusion that he is part of that outfit. He was in the know of the of the plot and we are trying to ascertain ore details regarding the same. Waseem is 25 years old and is an MBBS student. He was studying at a medical college in Bangladesh and had come to his home town a couple of months back.

Hazy leads emerge in Delhi blasts

Even as the Home Ministry appears positive regarding the cracking of the Delhi blasts case, investigations so far have been giving out hazy details regarding the plot.

The National Investigating Agency which is working alongside the Intelligence Bureau and also a host of other investigating agencies has found that a group of ten boys carried out the blasts at Delhi. The ten boys who planned the blasts and then escaped into the Jammu and Kashmir region are however not from the same place. It was a group of ten boys who were from West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir who came together to carry out this attack, investigations so far have revealed.

In all four emails had been sent out and till now it can be found that only the one sent out of Jammu and Kashmir in the name of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi appears to have some connection with the blast. The rest of them after several rounds of investigation have found to be fake. However another round of scrutiny would be conducted, sources in the NIA informed.

While these hazy details emerge, the investigating agency have not been able to pin point as yet to which organization or outfit these boys belonged to. Each of them them is in their late 20s and have been planning this attack for sometime now. It is now being ascertained whether any of these boys had left Delhi before the blasts and planned out the attack in the Valley along with the rest of the youth.

For the moment it does not appear that it was the HuJI which solely masterminded these blasts. These boys could have used that name in order to send across a stronger message. The fact that these boys were from the Valley and West Bengal which again are strongholds of the HuJI is not a good enough ground to say that they are part of that outfit.

These boys could also be from the Indian Mujahideen and may have fled Delhi and planned the blast outside. They could have intentionally concealed the name of the organization in order to avoid any heat. The NIA however adds that investigations are still on and added while looking at the forensic reports and the material used in the blast, it becomes clear that such material can be sourced easily only in the Valley.

Investigations are focused in the Kishtwar area where the entire saga has emerged according to the NIA. The emails is what has drawn the NIA to this place and it has been found that the same was sent out by two youth from a Cyber café by two youth. The youth who are in custody are still being interrogated for further leads. Preliminary interrogation has revealed that the two boys were instructed to send out the email by someother person who had handed over the material to them. Further grilling with give a better picture sources in the NIA also added.

The NIA is also studying the motive behind the attack and is also not ruling out the possibility that these youth could not be part of any outfit and may have come together only to carry out this attack. This is a phenomenon that is being since the days of the Varanasi blasts where fringe elements are joining hands and carrying out attacks in the name of other outfits.

NIA sources say that the new phenomenon of terror is what makes the case tougher to crack. However they are in touch with the police in all SIMI/IM dominated states to dish out further details regarding the activities of the members especially those who have gone out of the radar since the heat had been built up.

US has a bigger Lashkar threat today

For the Lashkar-e-Tayiba there is no bigger ambition today but to strike at the United States of America. There has been talk for quite sometime now that the group is trying to wriggle slightly out of India and focus on the United States of America while it would let its sister concern the Harkat-ul-Jihadi carry out the India operations.
Lashkar continues to be the pet outfit of the ISI till date since there has not really been a defiance on its part. However the trouble began ever since the 26/11 attack and the lead up to it. A large part of the cadres in the Lashkar were looking to get into Afghanistan and also planning a strike on the United States. However this was not approved by the ISI which then assured them of a bigger attack. Hence the plan originally laid down by the Al-Qaeda’s 313 Brigade was hijacked and handed over to the Lashkar.
However the intelligence inputs from India on the operations of the Lashkar gives the clear indication that the trouble has begun once again. Today in fact the anger is two fold following the death of Osama Bin Laden. There are a large number of cadres in the Lashkar who feel that the death of Osama needs to be avenged.
The Lashkar sees a perfect opportunity today to take over the reigns of the Al-Qaeda post Osama Bin Laden. Laden was more of a glue for the Al-Qaeda and there was unity in the group. Today after his death, there is a lot of chaos within the group and the leadership of Ayman Al Zawahari has not done much good. The outfit has split into many factions and there is not one guiding force to keep the cadres united.
This change in situation has made many within the Lashkar more anxious. They believe that it was the Al-Qaeda which was capable of rattling the US and if that outfit is going down the drain, then the battle against the US is lost.
There is a growing rebellion today within the ranks of the Lashkar. An expert on the Lashar, Stephen Tankel would point out that the Lashkar has a deep rooted network and it is in the best position today to attack the US when compared to the rest of the groups.
These changes and the rebellion have made the ISI nervous. They have managed to contain the Lashkar a great deal and would not want it meddling with the United States of America as of now. The ISI itself is trying its best to clear its name in the international community and if the Lashkar were to go on the lose and strike at the US then it sure would mark the downfall of the US.
The clear message given to the Lashkar is to continue focusing on Kashmir and other India based operations. They would prefer to engage the Lashar more in Kashmir since they also feel this is a justifiable fight. However striking at the US would mean doom for the ISI in particular.
Despite so many problems as of now, the ISI still considers the Lashkar to be its favourite group. Unlike the rest of the groups which parted ways with the ISI and turned rogue the Lashkar has always remained faithful. The ISI would do everything to quell a rebellion.
The Indian Intelligence Bureau however says that the capabilities of the Lashkar has gone up two fold. The fact that they were able to train an American like David Headley to carry out terror strikes is just one indication of what their capabilities are. They for sure have many more David Headleys who would try and hit out at the US.
In addition to this they have also entered into a perfect relation with the underworld which has helped them set up a proper channel. They are using the drug routes used by the underworld to carry out terrorism. They have cadres in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, United States of America, London, Nigeria apart from a host of other countries. In the above mentioned countries they even have a dedicated network. In addition to this they also have at their disposal slick operatives such as Sajid Mir who does don the role of an international terrorist. Hence when one talks about the capabilities of the Lashkar it is evident that they have an edge over the rest and in the years to come they will continue to be a nightmare for the United of States of America which just did away with the Al-Qaeda menace very recently.

13/7-2 suspects held, probe widens across nationwide

The police are seeking further remand of Riazul Sarkar who was picked up in Bihar in connection with the serial blasts case. The Intelligence Bureau which has been questioning him says that he has links with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi based in Bangladesh, but not many relevant details regarding his links to the serial blasts have cropped up as yet.

His remand may be extended since the National Investigating Agency now wants to question him regarding the same case. He has come across as a very suspicious character and they would try and ascertain if he was in any way connected directly or indirectly with the blasts.

During the probe they found that he was fluent in Kannada and Bengali. However what raised the suspicion that his addresses turned out to be false. The IB says that it is too early to come to any conclusion this man and we are not suggesting that he is involved in the case. However there are certain things that we still need to ascertain about whether he has any real link to the HuJI. The HuJI and the IM are very closely linked and their cadres help each other cross in and out of the border.

Nation wide questioning of the IM operatives continued with police not finding any substantial clues as yet. There is sharing of information between the police and they are picking up leads from interrogation reports. The police are also questioning a man by the name Haroon who is in a jail in Kolkata. This man who is believed to be an IM operative was picked up last month based on an intelligence bureau tip off. Apart from being questioned about the present case the police are also finding out details on his linkages to the sleeper cells and modules in Kolkata.

An official said that there is a lot of focus on the modules from Kolkata since there are some leads indicating that some of the men involved in the blasts could have come from there. Even during the Varanasi blasts the foot soldiers managed to slip out through Kolkata. Moreover the close links between the IM and the HuJI also make Kolkata a hot hub for such operatives.

Mecca Masjid-4 years later

Photo courtesy: The Hindu

The Mecca Masjid blasts at Hyderabad was a turning point for terrorism in India. Four years have gone by and while the Muslim community in Hyderabad blame their representatives for not doing enough, the investigations on the other hand continue to move on at a snail’s pace.

It is a well known fact that it was the Harkat-ul-Jihadi which was initially blamed for the blasts. The reason given out by the police at that time was this blast was carried out to create a divide in society. However three years later everything changed and some Hindu elements were brought to book for this incident and what sealed matters was a confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand who went on to claim that it was they who carried out the blasts.

Today the case is being handled by the National Investigation Agency and last month they had visited the blast site and reconstructed the incident as part of investigation procedure. An NIA source said that these things take time and we cannot conduct an investigation as per media pressure. We are doing our work and the interrogation of several accused in on. We are also on the trail of Ramji Kalsanghra and Dange who will help provide more leads to the case. We are looking to close the case in the next couple of months, the source also said.

At the moment the NIA has in its custody, Swami Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta and Lokesh Sharma for their involvement in the case.

Lateed Mohammad Khan, convenor of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee which has been fighting the case of the Muslim youth who were falsely implicated in this case says that the Muslim representatives have failed to fulfill their responsibilities at a time they needed them the most. All we Muslims are upset with them because instead of making the government of Andhra Pradesh accountable they decided to play defensive. There was no one to console the families of the people died in the blast and firing. They were treated worse than the animals. Police spread such terrorism that the families of the dead could not even perform the last rites properly. People were prevented from joining the last prayer for the deceased.

He further adds that nabbing the culprits is not sufficient in the case. The Hyderabad police have played a role in this and the NIA would do well to investigate this angle to the case as well. We believe that the police provided logistic support to the Hindutva terrorists. Immediately after the blast, police started firing on innocent people which helped these culprits get a safe passage to escape.

We do not understand the attitude of the Government. It had constituted the Bhaskar Rao commission of inquiry to probe the case and it has even submitted a report to the government last year. However the government refuses to table the report or even make it public. This is being avoided since the report mentions the names of several police officers which the government wants to protect. The report further speaks about the torture of the Muslim youth and how they were electrocuted while in custody.

At the end of four years the Muslim community in Hyderabad have the following demands:

-Table the Bhaskar Rao Commission report in the Assembly.

-Investigate the Makkah Masjid bomb blast and subsequent police firing seriously.

-Full stop to the Hindutva terrorism and book these terrorists under rule of law.

-Secular parties and Muslim representatives should fulfill their responsibilities.

Firing at Mecca Masjid and the aftermath

Photo courtesy: Outlook
The Mecca Masjid bombing at Hyderabad was a turning point in the social dynamics in Hyderabad many would claim. The case took many twists with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi being blamed at first before the CBI was brought in who finally concluded that it was an act committed by some extremist Hindus.

The blame that was laid on the Muslim community at first was not too well received with a large section of them asking one question, “why would our own people bomb a Mosque?” However that sentiment has now calmed down among the Muslim community in Hyderabad and they appear to be happy that the truth in so far as this case has finally come out.

However the burning issue today is the police firing subsequent to the bomb blasts of May 18 2007. Immediately after the blasts, there was chaos around the Mosque. The police claims that there was stone pelting protesting the blasts and hence they had to fire at them. Nine people lost their lives in this firing.

A commission of inquiry was set up and was headed by Justice Bhaskar Rao. The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee which has been spearheading this cause to bring out the real picture says that the commission report which is of extreme importance appears to have gone into the cold storage.

The convenor of this committee, Lateef Mohammad Khan says that it is clear that the police had acted out of spite and had fired indiscrinately at the mob which was just trying to help out those who were injured in the bomb blast. The government fears that if the report by the Commission which was handed over when K Rosaiah was the Chief Minister will bring about the down fall of many in case it is made public. The commission worked for nearly 3 years trying to find out tthe reason for the firing and in the bargain the government has spent crores of rupees.

Although it is not clear what exactly the commission has said at the end of it, here are some records to show what the submissions before it were. The special branch of the Hyderabad city police and also the state intelligence bureau in their preliminary reports stated that the police firing on the protestors was ‘indiscriminate and unwarranted’. The preliminary reports admitted that the police had shot both at the protestors as well as the panic stricken people who were present around the Mosque at the time of the incident.

Further the commission also relied upon the post mortem reports which indicated that the police firing was indiscriminate in nature. The report also went on to state that the bullets were fired from self loading rifles which are normally used in battle against extremists such as terrorists and naxalites.

Further before the commission was also the report of the City Security Wing which stated that 90 rounds were fired by the police force at that time. 6 constables of the Quick Response Team of the City Police had fired 72 rounds, 3 constables of the City Armed Reserve had fired 11 rounds, and 3 constables of the West and North Zone Task Force had fired 7 rounds at Punch Mohalla and Charminar bus stop near Mecca Masjid.

Khan goes on to state that the police men were chosen specifically for the job by the then additional commissioner of police (crime branch). Civil Liberties in its fact finding report had also indicated that there was a connection between the blasts and the police firing. When the commission submitted its report to the government, the Congress government as usual dumped it in cold storage, Khan further adds. The government fears to place the facts before the people.

We expected that report would be presented during the budget session, but that was not done. Worse even the Muslim representatives in the assembly did not make any noise about it. Khan says that many families who lost their loved ones in the firing are badly affected by the incident