Chasing the Chimera – Part 1

It is the same story all over again. ! Yet another blast at Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya in Bihar, the same kind of modus operandi, made from commercially-available substances like ammonium nitrate or potassium permanganate, the same kind of low intensity explosives made from a fresh round of political slug-best between BJP and the Congress party and BJP  blaming JD(U) and all kinds of allegations flying all over. A fresh broth is cooked and politicians add their own brand of ‘tadka’ of caste and community as per their choice and convenience leaving security agencies besmirched and bemused.

Internal security in India appears to have become a football and any politician can kick it in any direction without knowing where it would land up. With every such terrorist attack, a flurry of allegations and counter-allegations begins and dies down within a few days.

Behind the Bodh Gaya bombings lies the same old, depressing story of incompetence and apathy. India’s police and intelligence services knew there were plots to attack the temple. Indeed, jihadists quite publicly announced they intended to attack Buddhist targets. The police repeatedly warned that security at the temple wasn’t good enough.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had issued several warnings pointing to heightened risks to Buddhist religious targets in India, as a consequence of anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar and even called for security of the Temple to be beefed –up. Inspections and drills were conducted as early as till last week by Gaya SP and yet a series of crude bomb explosions rock this historical site.

The most bizarre part was that the suspected terrorists could even carry many small gas cylinders inside the temple premises to use along with explosives because of serious flaws in its security management. The staff hired by management had hired didn’t know how to use door-frame metal detectors, no-one was monitoring closed-circuit television cameras in real time, and footage wasn’t retained.

A day later, Pakistan’s Jamat-Ud-Dawa plays a very important part in organizing “Islamic brotherhood Conference “in Saudi Capital Jeddah about the plight of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar and the same kind of sabre-rattling is carried on against India.

The NIA team has been handed over the investigation and needles are pointed towards the most familiar Indian Mujahideen (IM) outfit and they would take time for them to put all pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. As of now, a total of six persons have been apprehended for questioning and it would take some time before the nation comes to know about their diabolical plot.

However, the security agencies which have been tackling such incidents across the country during last few years also need to do a serious soul searching over a few things. In the past, individuals from Bihar’s Darbhanga area have been charged with a role in Jihadi operations in India—among them Danish Ahmad, the three alleged Indian Mujahideen operative who provided information on the Bodh Gaya reconnaissance. Fugitive Indian Mujahideen commander Yasin Zarar Siddibapa is alleged to have sheltered in Darbhanga.

In this case however – both Bihar government and the IB -should have been more vigilant, and taken the precautionary measures to ensure the safety of this famous shrine. Unfortunately, the Union Home Ministry appears to have become the biggest casualty in the tug of war between CBI and IB, thanks to Isharat Jahan fake encounter case. It appears like the Home Minister is not able to admonish the warring Chiefs of both these organizations. In the process however, the entire intelligence gathering apparatus in IB appears to have fast coming to a grinding halt. None other than the outgoing Union Home Secretary  R K Singh  had  frankly admitted in an informal  conversation today that there was a huge amount of resentment within the IB field officers and because of this incident and  the Ministry was not getting any  hardcore ground level intelligence either from across the Pakistan border nor from the Naxal affected States.  IB’s ancillary units have been at a loss and most of them don’t want to risk their lives because of this.” There is a danger of a total collapse of the intelligence system” confided a very senior official.  The biggest worry is an almost freeze on information from across Pakistan. This is despite the fact that there are more than 12 Muslim organizations in India which have maintained regular touch with Lashkar-e-Taiyeba and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of the Jama’at-ud-Da’wah.

What is all the more interesting is that  heads of a few such organizations have been meeting   some Congress and BJP leaders as well and  informed  about their political plans and  future course of actions as well.  Ahle- Hadis is one such organization in Pakistan whose many units are linked and attacked with LeT. The best part is that Ahle-hadis has many operatives in different parts of India which operates an email ID called; bholababa@com.  Hadis operatives have been in touch with Indian social organizations and Muslim trusts and individuals from Hyderabad, Nizamabad and Secunderabad in AP, Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka, Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Azamgarh, Kanpur and Aligarh in UP, Mushirdabad in West Bengal, Bhagalpur, Supaul and Darbhanga in Bihar.

According to latest intercepts, there are at least 11 social sites from Southern parts of India alone which are linked with Jama’at-ud-Da’wah by proxy. In this context,  a two day seminar was held in Islamabad on 16th and 17th June on “ productive use of Computers and social media for Jamat” and many training modules  were also passed on to those who were directly or linked with it worldwide.  One of the sessions in that seminar was on the plight and persecution of Myanmar Muslims and an appeal was sent out to Myanmar Muslims to take up armed struggle agAinst the Myanmar regime where Indian supporters and operatives/ sleeper cells would help them in terms of logistics. LeT made a clear statement of giving them all possible help.  Two days later, Hafiz Saeed held a Press Conference at Karachi and called upon them to make a Tanzeem. The name of that Seminar Instructor was Nadeem Javed. Before that Difi-a-Ummat Conference was held at Karachi on 11th June where Saeed had said that Islamists should not study and follow everything that was western and instead, they should follow Sunnat and Hadis.  Lah- Humanity Foundation (LHF) is another such outfit created by Jama’at-ud-Da’wah whose CEO is Dr Naeem Mughal and Hafiz Abdul Rauf is its chairman.LHF is registered on paper as a NGO but its activities have been of anti- India nature.    

During last few months, Saeed had led many demonstrations in Pakistan over the plight of Myanmar Muslims and this had been organized in Islamabad by one Engineer Shafikur Rehman. Here also, Saeed had made a call to Indian Muslim brethren to help Myanmar Muslims and a few Urdu newspapers in India had also amplified stories with ghastly photographs and inflammatory write-ups at their behest.  What is worrying for Home Ministry top brass is that it would take a lot of time and efforts to re-establish that field intelligence IB operatives/apparatus and goad them to get back to their field intelligence gathering from various sensitive locations across the border.  More than that, they are not able to keep track of those mushrooming social sites and their network on Facebook and Twitter and their direct/indirect linkages with Pakistani terrorist outfits.

The latest salvo from Saeed is his advice to Nawaz Sharief government not to buy electricity from India even if half the Pakistan people have to remain in dark. This kind of rabid anti-India sentiments being expressed in public rallies  has been creating more Jehadis who are in their teens because they can be moulded easily.        

Equally dismal has been the inputs from the Naxal end because many field officials are reluctant to stick their neck into it. In fact, a few top intelligence officials are angry and indignant as to why the ruling party was hell bent on damaging and destroying such a premier intelligence agency in the name of Narendra Modi?

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