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Chasing the Chimera – Part 2

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Even as Indian Mujahideen had tweeted claiming responsibility for the bombings at Bodh Gaya, the investigating officers and police officials said they are pursuing their own leads in the case, the investigating agencies are yet to make any significant breakthrough in the serial bomb blasts at the 1,500 years old Mahabodhi temple complex on Sunday morning,( 7 July)

So far, three FIRs have been in Bodh Gaya police station on the basis of the statement of a staff of Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, a Buddhist monk and a police official. At least  six suspects, including a woman, who were detained from Patna and Gaya and some suspects caught on CCTV footage are being interrogated by NIA officials. The NIA has also announced a reward of Rs.10 lakhs for anybody providing information regarding the bombing suspects.

However, initial leads from spot and a few intercepts by security agencies point to an entirely new kind of scenario which would pose a huge challenge to the country. That Pakistan’s ISI has been playing a major role in helping and financing radical groups in India is well known. Post Babri Masjid demoltion, a few more radical groups sprang up. For a few years, HUJI and SIMI remained on the radar for security agencies and then HUJI+SIMI=IM ( Indian Mujahidden) was the formula followed.

On the other hand, LeT, JUD and few other outputs started fomenting internal trouble in India. IM’s hand has been suspected in many blasts across the country during the last 5 years. What has been all the worrisome is the home grown terror outfits undergoing an image makeover by taking up international issues and forging links abroad with international radical groups as well?

One such group is Palestinian radical outfit called Hizbul Tahrir which was founded in 1953 and which believes in an Islamic State. There are reports of some IM cadres having already been in touch with them and they are being wooed to take up even global issues to forge solidarity and support.  Hizbul tahrir is said to be active in West Asia as in European countries like Germany and Holland apart from Russia.  Turkey, Russia, Bangladesh and even Germany have banned this group as it is treated like a terror outfit.

Report Submitted to Union Home Ministry almost 4 months ago revealed about the interaction of some IM cadre with Hizbul Tahrir operatives. IM’s funding is also being carried out from Europe and West Asia where Tahrir has a strong presence.  It was also suspected that Tahrir was responsible for the coup attempt against Prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Bangaldesh last year and that is how it was banned there.

It is for the first time that security agencies have been able to decipher the contact  and exchange information mode  between too and in the process, got to know about the Tahrir’s anti- India agenda as its identifies India as a enemy country.

On the other hand, Ahle-Hadis which is an offshhot of Jamat-UD-Dawa headed by Hafiz Saeed has been active through its local supporters in various parts of India. It has many branches in various States. Recently, the agencies also found out about the presence of many Hadis operatives in Burhanpur and Jabalpur cities of Madhya Pradesh who are connected with Jamat-Ud-Dawa through various social media sites.

In this context, it is worth remembering that JUD Chief Hafiz Saeed had visited Bhopal city in 1992. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh started becoming a safe haven for all those fugitives and operatives of SIMI and Dawood gang and other fugitives and anti-social elements whenever they found the heat on them in Mumbai and Gujarat. Also, it was in 1995 that a huge catche of sophisticated weapons including AK-47 and others was discovered from a well in Jhiranya village in Ujjain district when Mr Digvijaya Singh was the Chief Minister. These weapons had come from Pakistan to Gujarat and from there; they were sneaked into Madhya Pradesh. In addition, an American made carbinbe had also been recovered from the farm house of a liquor dealer named Mahmood khan from Ratlam.

Out of the total number of nine blasts in last 4 years across the country, the prime suspects have been IM and they have started spreading their wings in those areas which are on the border. IM cadres have also been outwitting the security agencies in the use of technical gadgets and their every next hit has revealed their improvisation the in the bomb making.

IM cadres and sleeper cells in certain pockets of Uttar Pradesh is known by now.  Azamgarh has already earned notoriety because fof Balta House Encounter and so on. It could be seen from case no RC-o6/2012/NIA/DLI dated: 10/09/2012 which NIA is investigating against the functionaries of proscribed terrorist organization Indian Mujahideen (IM).

It had already announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh against those 12 persons out of which six are from Azamgarh. In NIA’s most wanted list include 3 Bhatkal brothers ( Yasin Bhatkal, Riaz Bhatkal and  Iqbal Bhatkal) Mohd tahseen Akhter, Mohsin Ismail choudhary, Amir reza Khan and those from Azamgarh include Dr Shahanawaz Alam, Abdullah Akhtar, Ariz Khan, Mohammad Sajid, Mohammad Khalid and Mirza Shadaab Beg.

But it is the border State of Bihar which has started giving sleep nights to security agencies. The NIA has been able establish IM’s Darbhanga connection in last 4 blasts. According to a few experts, Darbhanga has become the new Azamgarh of Bihar because it is easier to slip into Nepal from there. Nepal, in any case has been a big ISI base for some time now. Some other areas of Bihar where IM cadres have been reported include Farbisgarj, Araria, Supaul and Birpur on Bihar- Nepal border.

The biggest shocker for the internal security agencies has been the growing nexus between Jehadis and Naxals.  Though these agencies don’t want to admit on record, yet the fact remains that some recent intercepts have confirmed their worst fears. Bodhgaya blast, according to some top officials, would not have been possible because of local naxal support. One among those seven persons detained by NIA is a local and has naxal link. In any case, Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Banka, Giridih, Nawada and adjoining districts have been in the naxal stronghold in Bihar.

So, the new equation that is emerging is: Naxals+ULFA+ Jihadis+ISI. It is equally important to recall that NIA had registered a case in Odisha some time ago against naxals where they discovered WI-FI sets made in China. They also picked up an ULFA activist who had gone to train those Odisha naxals and he had himself been trained in Bangladesh
Latest intelligence reports also reveal that the Paresh Barua faction of ULFA has already been in touch with ISI.   Secondly, naxals have also established links with ISI via Nepal route.  During last 2 years, naxals have also started getting their foothold in those parts of Assam which are mineral rich areas. Now, Jehadi groups establishing contact with them or joining this axis would be a deadly mix.

The naxals have been active in at least 22 states and their presence in mineral rich States like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh has been formidable, in fact, they have been running a parallel administration in some areas. They have been indulging in extortion.

Now Jihadi groups joining hands would not only create more headaches for the security agencies but on our whole internal security mechanism because naxals have superior fire power, training modules and hardcore executioners.  This combination and sharing of information and support system among all these four groups is going to be the biggest challenge for this country in the coming days.

The most unfortunate part is that, unlike most other countries, even the internal security “bandobust “and preventive system in India gets entangled in the name of caste and community where there should have been no compromise whatsoever. Even now, this issue is seen from the prism of political calculations and gains and that is the reason why India has not been able to tackle this menace with an iron hand.

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