New insights into Indian Mujahideen network

2 10 2008

fPraveen Swami
Source: The Hindu
Also look at the List of faces of terror from NDTV


SIMI leaders provided the foundations for Ahmedabad operation

Most contentious part of network was a group of U.P. men centred around Atif Amin


NEW DELHI: India’s intelligence and police services now believe that the Indian Mujahideen is not a terror group, but a loose network of Islamist groups tied together by a common cause and ideological affiliation.

Based on a careful study of the mechanics of the July 26 serial bombings of Ahmedabad, investigators believe that the Indian Mujahideen is made up of three distinct elements: Students Islamic Movement of India volunteers, a group of Uttar Pradesh men with links to the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami and the jihadist-linked crime cartel of jailed mafioso Aftab Ansari.

SIMI foundations

Students Islamic Movement of India leaders — many of whom knew Ghauri and Husaini — provided the foundations for the Ahmedabad operation.

Key SIMI organiser Qayamuddin Kapadia, who has evaded arrest, led a team of Gujarat-based volunteers who provided the local knowledge critical for the success of the operation.

Many members of this ring, whose key members included Usman Agarbattiwala and Sajid Mansuri, were drawn to the jihad by personal experiences of the Gujarat communal pogrom of 2002. For example, Imran Ibrahim Sheikh was forced to drop out of school when his mother — the family’s sole earning member — was injured in the violence.

SIMI had begun preparing itself for participation in the Indian Mujahideen offensive in December 2007, when an estimated 50 cadre participated in a jihad training camp held near Aluva, Kerala. In January 2008, another camp was held on the Pavagadh hills near Halol.

Several follow-up meetings were held, involving Kapadia, Islamist ideologue Mufti Abdul Bashar Qasmi, and Mumbai-based bomb-maker Mohammad Subhan Qureshi — the man who helped to knit the diverse elements of the Indian Mujahideen network together.

Assault team

But the most contentious part of the social network was a group of Uttar Pradesh men centred around Atif Amin — a Jamia Millia Islamia University student, who, the Delhi police say, commanded the most critical cell of the Indian Mujahideen.

Much of the police account emerged from the questioning of Mohammad Shakeel, who was pursuing a Master’s degree in economics, along with Jamia undergraduate Zia-ur-Rahman and New Delhi-based Sikkim Manipal University distance-learning student Saqib Nisar.

While the families and supporters of the three men insist they are innocent, the police claim they were key members of the Indian Mujahideen network.

According to the police, independent witnesses have confirmed that on August 11 the three men were aboard the Ashram Express from Delhi to Ahmedabad, where they and other members of Atif Amin’s team carried out a reconnaissance in preparation for the serial bombings.

Delhi police investigators say Amin at first told his group that the bombings were to be executed on July 19. However, three days before that day, he announced that the plan had been deferred, because the disassembled improvised explosive devices needed for the attacks were yet to arrive.

In fact, the police in Gujarat and Maharashtra now believe, the delay was most likely the outcome of problems faced by the Indian Mujahideen’s organised-crime affiliates in Mumbai.

Car bombs

Aftab Ansari’s key lieutenant Riaz Bhatkal, who is thought to have routed much of the finance for the Indian Mujahideen from Islamists in the Indian diaspora in West Asia, promised to provide three cars to be fitted with bombs. But Bhatkal-lined gangster Afzal Usmani was able to arrange for the theft of the three vehicles used as car bombs in Ahmedabad only on July 15. Usmani and his associates then drove the cars to Ahmedabad, where they were delivered to Amin early on July 17.

Later, Amin’s group assembled the bombs — manufactured at a still-unknown Indian Mujahideen factory that is believed to have been run near Mangalore in Karnataka — at a safe house in Ahmedabad’s Dani Limda area.

By this time, however, Shakeel had returned to Delhi, where he was scheduled to sit for an examination for his Master’s degree. He was, however, ordered to prepare a flat in New Delhi’s Jasola Vihar area, used by the Indian Mujahideen as a safe house, for the arrival of the 13-member assault team led by Amin which returned to the Capital on July 27.

With much of the Indian Mujahideen’s top leadership still at large, it is still unclear just who thought up its name — but investigators say it is likely that its inspiration lay in earlier efforts to build up an indigenous, pan-India jihadist network.

In the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Mujahideen Islam e-Hind — or the Indian Mujahideen of Islam — led by Mohammad Tufail Husaini bombed a series of trains. Andhra Pradesh-based Mohammad Azam Ghauri, one of the co-founders of the Lashkar’s pan-India operations, later set up the Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen, which carried out several bombings in 1999.





HATRED – Terror’s only religion Himanshu Shekhar

2 10 2008
Source: Zee News
Himanshu Shekhar

“What people in the West simply don’t understand is that we love death even more than they love life.” – Osama bin Laden, November 1996.

It was 2002 when I was in first year of my college when an image released on Israeli television and published in leading magazines across the world hit me. The image titled ‘Hebron’s Baby Bomber’ sparked a worldwide debate. A debate which still remains relevant. Which religion teaches one to engage an infant baby of hardly 18 months for killing others? Definitely not Islam.

We are in times when the world is reeling under terror strikes which have a lasting impact and India is no exception. Terrorism is back in focus or perhaps it was never out of frame. That brings us to a simple question- why do some people love death more than life? As a modern civic society/ state are we prepared to counter the menace?

It is a basic challenge to locate and fix the problem first before embarking on curative measures. Who are these people? What is their religion? What is their mission?

London, Karachi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi – blasts had one thing in common and that was their techno savvy nature. An email sent from a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection just before all these attacks from ‘Indian-Mujahideen,’ clearly means that terrorists were with a mission or at least they projected one. Once again the name given to such dastardly coward act was ‘Jihad’.

It is true that those who are lured to indulge in such acts are misguided. People who are frustrated because of the political climate are the first targets. There’s no denying the fact the socio- economic factors are the ingredients in making of terror.

SIMI’s indoctrination

As the investigations reveal, the act was perpetrated by a new group named Indian Mujahideen which worked in tandem with the banned outfit SIMI. The roots of most serial blasts, which sent down jitters in India, were traced to Azamgarh – now referred to as India’s ‘terror hub.’ To say that it’s only the socio economic backwardness of the people is the only reason which pushes them towards these acts would be totally wrong. It’s the rich, the more affluent, highly educated and technologically advanced men who have been involved in the masterminding of these plots.

All the accused arrested in recent spate of blasts are in early 20s and one thing they had in mind was injustice meted out to people of their community in Gujarat riots. The mail sent by IM was just a confirmation of the sentiment. It is this sense of being denied due justice that lead the masterminds picking disgruntled youth.

A paper submitted by Marc Sagemen, a renowned expert on understanding of terror network, to the Tiffin University in Ohio says, “It is not a specific organization but a social movement consisting of a set more or less formal organizations, linked in patterns of interaction ranging from the fairly centralized to the more decentralized.”

Sagemen in his report further adds, “Some nodes are more popular and are attached to more links, connecting them to more isolated nodes.” Azamgarh was probably that isolated node to which these groups have now connected. Internet has definitely aided that inter-linkage.

Technology has increasingly helped terror groups in a way that they can successfully share their failure and success world wide. While the Delhi Police raided the ‘Batla House’ in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, it was believed that these terrorists were doing a case study.

It is a really dangerous sign as it questions the very base of India’s secular credentials. The fact that a chunk of Indian Muslims feel they are ‘others’ when incidents like Gujarat or Babri demolition occur, in itself is disturbing because it hits the very ‘Idea of India’.

I- Factor

That brings us to another rudimentary question of terror’s linkage with religion. Are those who are perpetrators of this heinous and ghastly act there to spread Caliphate? Answer probably is big NO. Islam also means: as Salam, a word that signifies surrender. MJ Akbar in his book Shade of Swords writes, “But the Islamic faith from time to time also demands a holy war defined by specific circumstances, blood of the faithful in defence of the faith.”

Akbar further adds, “Shahada: Lailaha- il- Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah” – which means there is but one Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet. And those who become martyrs of Allah are the Shaheed.

It is these lines which are misinterpreted the most. A report submitted by Adam Fosson on cause and effect of ‘Martyrdom’ quotes Sheikh Yasin (a Hamas leader) as saying, “Love of martyrdom is something deep inside the heart. But these rewards are not in themselves the goal of a martyr. The only aim is to win Allah’s satisfaction. And it is Allah who selects martyrs.”

Indian Mujahideen clearly seem to get their inspiration from such misinterpretations. Probably Prophet Mohammad insisted on holy war against the enemy inside. For that matter the feeling shared by Indian Muslims can be really heart wrenching. ‘What can you say if after every terror attacks your own friends see you suspiciously just because you also follow the religion of those involved in these ghastly acts?” Their feelings can be best explained by these immortal lines of Iqbal in his masterpiece ‘Shikwa’;

Hai baja shewa-e-taslim mein mashhoor hain hum Kissa –e- dard sunate hain ki majboor hain hum.

(We won renown for submitting to Your will – and it is so; We speak out now, we are compelled to repeat our tale of woe.) Translation by: Khuswant Singh

It would be wrong for anyone to question Islam or Muslims as that would erroneously include all those Indian Muslims who have led their lives as good citizens trying to improve the lot of their country. India today is the emerging power in the world because all sections of society be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and all others have contributed towards it. Can one question Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s patriotism?

All those people who decided to choose India as their country during partition are Indian first and alienating or seeing them through cataract eyes would just be questioning the very concept of secular India. The fight against terror can begin only after killing its religion which undoubtedly is ‘HATRED’.





TIFFIN BOMB BLAST IN SOUTH DELHI KILLS TWO, INJURES 25. POLICE RULE OUT INVOLVEMENT OF INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN. SO, WHODUNNIT?

2 10 2008



TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Source: TOI

New Delhi: It was Black Saturday all over again. Exactly two weeks after serial blasts ripped through the capital, it was hit by a low-intensity crude bomb, which went off on Saturday afternoon in the crowded Sarai Market, near Aulia Masjid in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area. A nineyear-old boy, who innocently picked up a black polythene bag containing a tiffin box bomb, was killed on the spot as it exploded in his face. Twenty-five people were injured. According to late night reports from AIIMS hospital, a 60-year-old man succumbed to his injuries.

Police have ruled out the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen. Six people were detained in connection with the blast as security was stepped up in the capital. Delhi Police was not willing to confirm that it had received warning of a strike from an anonymous caller in Faridabad or that it had received an email to that effect on September 24.

According to eyewitnesses, the electronic goods market was packed with shoppers when a black Pulsar motorbike went through the narrow lane intent on its deadly business. It had two helmeted riders, who dropped the bag with its deadly payload in the middle of the road, in front of a shop, Anisha Electronics.

Out on an errand, the nine-year-old boy, Santosh, thought the men had unknowingly dropped the bag. In a heartbreaking act of kindness to strangers, Santosh rushed to pick it up, running after them as he shouted for them to stop. It was then that white smoke began to pour out of the bag. The boy dropped it, but too late to save his own life.

This happened around 2.05 pm. The victims were rushed to AIIMS and Fortis hospitals, where 10 of them are reported to be critical while others are out of danger, said hospital sources. The police were called seven minutes after the bomb went off. Teams of officers and ambulances rushed to the spot. The blast left a trail of panic with shops in the area closing for the day.





Speak out and say Yes to Unity: Tarun Vijay

2 10 2008

Source TOI

Do we get bad leaders inspite of having good people ? If our people are great, why do we have leaders who fail? Where are the people if the leaders are not doing what we think they should be doing?

A people so intensely under attack by the terrorists can’t claim to be brave by sitting silently and petitioning state clerks. Those who fear get what they fear.

While China, having superbly completed the Olympics, sent a man for a space walk and Sarah Palin “delighted” our PM in the US with a handshake, India seems to be descending dangerously into communal polarisation, reinforced and powered by a secular lobby. In the process, the morale of the police and other security forces is being affected for they are facing the brunt from terrorists as well as the secularists in the government and the media who are running them down, doubting their intentions and integrity.

Suddenly yardsticks for our judgment have changed. Opinions, morphed as judgments, are passed not on merit or weighing its consequences for the society, but by the yardstick of the colour events wear. The Nanavati Commission’s report is to be discarded even before its pages are browsed because the Narendra Modi government instituted it and it shows Hindus as victims. The Bannerjee report is to be trusted because the secular Lalu Yadav instituted it and shows Hindus as aggressors. Strange logic.

Who speaks for the Indian?

Inspector M.C.Sharma’s funeral is not to be attended because he shot at Muslims. When the men in khaki arrested the Kanchi Shankaracharya, not a single secular channel or newspaper cast any doubt on the police reports and statements. But when the men in khaki arrested a few from Jamia Milia, doubts were raised immediately and investigative journalism flowered.

Anything written about patriotism, even a good word about Inspector Sharma, is sought to be embarrassed under a general head – Hindu media. I read this term being used first time in the aftermath of the Jamia controversy. Anything that Muslims show as a sign of solidarity with the rest of the India and condemnation of terrorism is either blacked out or shown apologetically.

Last week, 21st September to be exact, a few hundred young professional Muslim youth from Okhla and Jamia Nagar organized a silent procession at India Gate in New Delhi. They were condemning terrorism, asking for the harshest punishment for terrorists who use Islam for their crimes, and they wanted to be recognized as patriots. I didn’t see the coverage it deserved. Why?

Who is speaking for the Indians who were killed in the Delhi blasts? Why did they have to be turned lifeless in a sudden stroke?

Suddenly a blast occurs and their life is changed. You are going to see a movie, and next moment found dead. Someone bringing his daughter home from school – suddenly both are dead in a blast. Gone to market for shopping – minutes later a phone call at home says ‘Please come to claim the dead body’. Terrorism has changed our lives, our behaviour, our language and relations. Yet we feel hesitant to speak out.

What happens to those who were dependent on the terror-struck victim nobody knows. They are not news. Can’t we speak about Simran – whose father and grandfather were killed in the previous blast – and about Santosh, the sweet little kid who got killed in Mehrauli blast on Saturday?

“Son, what’s your religion?” – should that be our first query and decide what is said next?

Hard law is bad, because it was “used” against a particular community. Police is bad because it’s arresting and targeting a particular community.

Terror is secular, khaki is suspect

While the nation and her security forces – that includes the police too, stand firm to combat terrorism, the state power and the seculars are providing focused support to terrorists and enhancing their morale through statements and casting doubt on the motives of the anti-terror action. India’s secular cabinet ministers demanded lifting of a ban on a terrorist organization, proposed Indian citizenship to millions of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators, refused to say a word of encouragement to the security forces fighting terrorists but publicly assured help to the accused whom police, a part of the government, arrested for blasting Delhi and killing citizens.

All these secular statements had just one consideration – religion of the groups they want to support or oppose. The seculars have become the worst kind of communal hate spreaders, with their extreme one-sided postures and acidic language. In a way these rabble-rousing seculars have become a security threat affecting the societal fabric and the morale of the policemen and soldiers.

They ordered a communal head count in the army, ignored and downgraded celebrations of Bharat Vijay Diwas, 16th December, and Kargil Vijay Diwas, stopped observing the Pokharan test anniversary in Delhi and failed to show due respect to Field Marshall Manekshaw. All this can’t just be exceptions; they show a trend, an attitude.

These are the same elements who represent the governance and by virtue of being cabinet ministers, which ironically includes having taken an oath that obliges them to be loyal to the Constitution, succeed in facilitating comforts for the killers and create an atmosphere in which sympathies for the terrorists are generated and police become suspect with doubtful integrity. Words like – “they have a soft heart”, “they are our children and hence it’s our duty to provide them help”, “nothing can be said till they are proven guilty”, etc – are bandied about to warn the police and reassure those whom police caught at risk to their lives.

It’s good and admirable to stick to a universal assumption that everyone is innocent till proven guilty. But during wartime words spoken publicly have to be weighed against their possible impact on the elements that shoulder the responsibility to safeguard the nation. If you start being celestially virtuous by sympathizing with the pains and difficulties of those who have waged a war on the state, it’s bound to paralyze the enthusiasm of patriotic soldiers and civil resistance.

They know their side

In the secular dispensation, to be objective, liberal and broadminded and have sympathies on humanitarian grounds are reserved only for terror groups. Is it a secret that these seculars leave no stone unturned to create an atmosphere where procedural mechanism to punish the guilty is influenced and driven to believe that the arrested criminal is not the culprit, but the victim of an incompetent state apparatus.

Remember how a vigorous campaign to release a lecturer of the same Jamia Milia Islamia was launched in spite of Delhi police submitting a truckload of evidence about his involvement in the attack on Parliament? And the famous case of Abdul Mahdani, declared as the “main accused” in the Coimbatore bomb blast case, which left 58 dead? Karunanidhi went to see him in jail, provided all the facilities, including a regular masseur, and finally when on purely “technical” points he was released, Kerala’s Left Front cabinet ministers came out and accorded him a public felicitation?

The charges against Mahdani were as follows:

“Accused No. 14 Mahdani is one of the key conspirators in the Coimbatore bomb blasts case.”

“Accused of collecting and transferring explosives to the town, ripped by a series of bomb blasts on February 14, 1998.”

“Charged under Sections 302 IPC (Murder); 307 IPC (Attempt to Murder); 153-A IPC (Creating hatred among communities); Section 5 of the Explosives Act and Section 25 of the Arms Act.”

Public prosecutor Balasundarm, arguing against Mahdani, had expressed “surprise” over the judgment to release him and said he did a good job in assimilating the voluminous evidence of documents 1785 documents marked as evidence, 1300 witnesses and over 15,000 pages of investigation records. If indeed the case had been presented as thoroughly as claimed, why did it fail?

If such incidents do not open the eyes of the people leading our public life, then what’s the course left for a law-abiding patriot?

In any other country facing such a serious serial terror assault, those who publicly empathize with the terrorists would have been tried along with the arrested accused of the blasts.

Speak out and say yes to unity.

It’s the emergent duty of the media and political powers to help stop the dangerous polarization taking place in our social circles and polity post-bomb blasts and public shows of secular sympathies for the accused killers.

While care should be taken that no educational institution gets a bad name because of the actions of a few, it’s also the duty of the faculty and the students to show solidarity with the terror-struck people. Muslim leaders have to come out openly re-enforcing a citizen’s solidarity against terror. If students fail in duty and character, the teachers will have to share the responsibility for their bad behaviour. It’s also wrong and false that a few wronged people have taken up guns. What wrongs and if it is indeed so, how many Kashmiri Hindus will have to take up guns?

Rather, the goodness of the religion needs to be publicized and there will be no dearth of other communities joining with such Muslims. So far it’s only the Hindus who are coming out openly defending the goodness of the Indian Muslims and their religion. Nobody generalizes the community as terrorists, unlike in Europe and America. This difference remains unrecognized though. Maulanas are silent, teachers do not speak out and the common men suffer in silence. Is that the way we are going to deal with this war? If people don’t forge solidarity and revolt and keep looking to politicians for all solutions, even god will think twice about helping them.





Major attacks since 2003

25 09 2008

Source: Hindustan times

Septemer 13th 2008 – At least five bombs exploded in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi on Saturday, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores more. The Indian Mujahideen militant group, which has claimed several major attacks in recent months, said it was responsible.

Following is a chronology of some of the major attacks in India in the past five years:

March 13, 2003 – A bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai kills 11 people.

August 25, 2003 – Two car bombs kill about 60 in Mumbai.

August 15, 2004 – A bomb explodes in the northeastern state of Assam, killing 16 people, mostly schoolchildren, and wounding dozens.

October 29, 2005 – Sixty-six people are killed when three blasts rip through markets in New Delhi.

March 7, 2006 – At least 15 people are killed and 60 wounded in three blasts in the northerly Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

July 11, 2006 – More than 180 people are killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai that are blamed on Islamist militants.

September 8, 2006 – At least 32 people are killed in a series of explosions, including one near a mosque, in Malegaon town, 260 km (160 miles) northeast of Mumbai.

February 19, 2007 – Two bombs explode aboard a train heading from India to Pakistan; at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, burn to death.

May 18, 2007 – A bomb explodes during Friday prayers at a historic mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad, killing 11 worshippers. Police later shoot dead five people in clashes with hundreds of enraged Muslims who protest against the attack.

August 25, 2007 – Three coordinated explosions at an amusement park and a street stall in Hyderabad kill at least 40 people.

May 13, 2008 – Seven bombs rip through the crowded streets of the western city of Jaipur, killing at least 63 people in markets and outside Hindu temples.

July 25 – Eight small bombs hit the IT city of Bangalore, killing at least one woman and wounding at least 15.

July 26 – At least 16 small bombs explode in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, killing 45 people and wounding 161. A little-known group called the “Indian Mujahideen” claims responsibility for the attack and the May 13 attack in Jaipur.

September 13 – At least five bombs explode in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores more. The Indian Mujahideen again claim responsibility.





Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

25 09 2008

Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

Staff Reporter
Source: The hindu

Suspected in 7/11 Mumbai blasts case; explosives, weapons seized from them; they allegedly broke away from SIMI

Hunt on for more suspects


Mumbai: The Mumbai police have arrested five suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen. While Afzal Mutalib Usmani (32) was arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Saddik Shaikh (31), Mohammed Arif Shaikh (38), Mohammed Zakir Shaikh (28) and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh were apprehended from their Mumbai residences on Tuesday night.

All the accused, originally from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, have worked with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Joint Commissioner (Crime), Rakesh Maria told journalists.

“They broke away from SIMI to form the radical group of Indian Mujahideen. Saddik, was one of the co-founders of the outfit along with Atiq, killed in the Delhi encounter, and Roshan Khan, who is yet to be traced. The police are on the lookout for Khan.”

The police have booked the arrested persons under the Explosives Act, Arms Act, various sections of the Indian Penal Code and for criminal conspiracy. They have taken custody of them till October 7.

The police have also recovered explosives and ammunition from them. They have retrieved 10 kg. of gelatin or ammonium nitrate, 15 detonators, eight kg. of ball bearings, four fully active electronic circuits, one sub-machine carbine, two .38 revolvers and 30 cartridges of 9 mm carbine and eight cartridges of .38 revolver.

The source of the explosives and weapons is yet to be ascertained. However, the police presume it could be Karnataka, said Mr. Gafoor.

Hawala funds

While the source of finance is also to be investigated, Mr. Gafoor said the “money was coming through the hawala route.”

Mr. Maria described the role of the terrorists in the multiple blasts in the country since 2005, including the recent attacks in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi. He said the Indian Mujahideen was also involved in the planting of an unexploded bomb at Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the blast at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, the blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, the Gorakhpur blasts in Lucknow and the 7/11 Mumbai blasts.

According to Mr. Maria, Afzal was responsible for the theft of the four motor vehicles from Navi Mumbai, which were used in the Ahmedabad blasts. He was also responsible for placing the explosive-laden vehicles at an Ahmedabad hospital and market place. Afzal was involved in a 1996 Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai) case of murder. He has nine cases against him including one under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime ACT (MCOCA).

Saddik came from Uttar Pradesh to settle in Cheetah Camp, Trombay, near Mumbai. He was working as a programme engineer in an electronic company in Mumbai. He was trained in a “hostile country” on two occasions for nine months and 45 days respectively. It was suspected that he was very high in the Indian Mujahideen hierarchy, Mr. Maria said.

Arif, an electrician by profession, was also trained outside in fabrication of bombs. “In particular, he is an expert in preparing an electronic circuit for bombs and is responsible for preparing the same in practically all the bomb blasts engineered by the Indian Mujahideen. In the initial stages, he was assembling bombs in Azamgarh and later he started doing it in Mumbai,” he said.

Zakir worked as a scrap dealer in Surat. Also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004, he was involved in the recent terror acts in Surat.

Ansar, resident of Cheetah Camp, was a close associate of Saddik. He was also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004.

Mr. Maria said the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) played a joint role in providing training to these five men.

Roshan Khan hails from Karnataka. His activities covered Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat.

Mr. Maria said Saddik was close to the alleged Delhi blast mastermind Atif. He was older than Atif and was his “controller.” Indian Mujahideen members were also under Saddik’s control.

He would plan where to send members for training and how many were to be sent. While Saddik would draw up plans, Atif would execute them.

“There is another person who is controlling them. His name is Amir Razzaq. His brother Asif Razzaq belonged to Kolkata’s Aftab Ansari group,” Mr. Maria said. He said Amir could be in Pakistan.

The arrested would converge at SIMI meetings. Another binding factor was their same place of origin, Azamgarh. Three of the five lived at Sanjarpur village in the district.

Mr. Maria said that to make identification difficult, the four persons settled in Mumbai told the 7/11 blast accused, with whom they worked, that they were Pakistanis. The Mumbai blast charge sheet mentions Pakistanis.

“All the 7/11 accused are in jail. The suspects thought to be Pakistanis are these people,” Mr. Gafoor said.

Responding to questions on the absconding suspect Abdus Subhan Qureishi alias Tauqeer, who is believed to have sent terror e-mails before the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts, Mr. Maria said that with the arrests made on Tuesday the e-mail case would be solved soon. He suspected that Tauqeer could be in touch with Roshan Khan.

‘Cannot be complacent’

“We have made a serious dent in terrorist activity, but we cannot be complacent. The hunt for more suspects is on, but the police cannot share operational details,” Mr. Gafoor said.

He said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for the Crime Branch team.





Fragrance of fire

22 09 2008

Source: TOI
More articles of the author can be found at TOI

Delhi is mourning the death of Inspector M C Sharma who dared to take on the terrorists hiding in Jamia Nagar. It’s rare that police force gets such an appreciation and salute that is otherwise reserved for the armed forces. The reactions of the people and the anchors on the news channels were sad, moist and genuine.

Why did he have to have this martyrdom?

The men in Khaki are more known and portrayed in movies as lazy, corrupt, unintelligent and seekers of pleasure at public cost. Few know the trying circumstances they work in and the salaries they draw. They are facing the Communist terrorism in thirteen states, their martyrdom in action, go often less reported and almost unsung. They are given the most outdated rifles and equipment and the facilities to act against terrorists who are cunning, resourceful and heavily armed with modern weapons. The police laws are shamefully inadequate. Indian police was governed under the 1861 act of the British government that was meant for the colonial brute force to control subjugated natives till 2006.

As close as 16th July, the Maoists in Orissa killed 21 policemen. In 2007, Maoists had killed 22 policemen in Bihar. According to a newspaper report, Bihar, one of the worst Maoist affected states along with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, has the lowest police-people ratio. Over 19,000 posts in the state police department have not been filled up. In March 2007 the Maoists had killed 50 policemen in Chhattisgarh. During Rajasthan’s Gujjar movement in May this year, unruly protestors beheaded a policeman.

Every one, including the politician, loves to deride and insult police openly and get applause. But every one wants police to help them in times of distress and crisis. From a small traffic accident to domestic violence and petty thefts to Nithari ‘s cannibals and Arushi murder, it’s the police that faces the public and is under constant pressure to show results. The politicians use them as domestic servants and commission agents, corrupting them and in turn helping out of turn the facilitator men in Khaki. Yet the most important task – to reform and modernize the police force – remains in cold storage till something like Delhi blasts occur and there is a huge pressure built up by people and media on the government. Then just to avoid the immediate criticism a few announcements are made to spend a few more crores on police force. No body knows how many years would take to see these announcements implemented.

It was in July 2006 that the Indian government had unveiled an ambitious Rs.52 billion plan for modernising the Central and state police forces. The money is yet to be utilized. Manipur, for example, which is declared ‘A’ class seeing high incidents of insurgency, didn’t spend eight crores earmarked for police modernization yet showed it as ‘spent’ in accounts, which was detected in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Lack of men power, political interference, a tendency to demoralize the honest and upright officers, lack of coordination between different forces and a complete absence of a mechanism to share information and cooperate with each other amongst various shades of police forces, including para-military security organisations make the task of police more difficult and cumbersome.

The level of demoralization in police forces is well exemplified by a recent report from Hyderabad that says: “Police stations in at least 100 mandals across the state do not want to avail four and six wheelers fearing landmine attacks by the Maoists. This comes following intelligence inputs that cops deployed in the jurisdiction of these police stations run the highest risk of being targeted by the Naxals. Currently, there are 1,559 police stations in the state of which about 700 have no four wheelers for mobility. Though the police department provided at least 207 vehicles to the police stations through the Police Transport Organisation, the Naxal-hit areas have not been included. A senior police officer said, “There are several instances of Naxals targeting police personnel moving in four wheelers. Landmines and claymore mines are a big threat to the police teams travelling in jeeps and buses in the Naxal-hit Andhra-Orissa border, Khammam-Chhattisgarh border, North Telangana and surroundings of Nallamala.’ Police usually move in private vehicles and sometimes on two-wheelers in the Maoist-hit zones.”

Those who shoulder the responsibility to provide security to people are left high and dry when the question of their own security arises. Just a month ago an ambitious scheme has been passed by the Union Cabinet, which aims to strengthen police force in Naxal affected areas by raising 10 battalions (10,000 personnel) at a cost of Rs 1389.47 crore. After debating on the proposal for nearly eight months, the Union Home Ministry finally moved the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for raising the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), which will be similar to ‘Greyhounds’ of Andhra Pradesh Police. The Left-extremism, termed by the Prime Minister as a “virus”, has engulfed nearly 13 states.

But it’s not just the Naxal affected areas but the entire police network that needs a complete and radical overhaul. Their training needs a Japanese touch which has the best of Eastern values and a tough power to eliminate the rogues. The first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to make the police set up autonomous and remove all the traces of colonialism from the police force, that essentially includes taking off the Khaki colour, which reminds of the imperial British brutishness. In UP and Bihar, old Willy’s jeeps, reminding of the Sholay days and dacoit trail are in vogue with policemen wielding 303 guns.

The National Police Commission (NPC), created by the government in 1977, had submitted eight detailed reports during 1979-81, with comprehensive recommendations covering the entire gamut of police work. None was implemented completely. It was only because of a petition to the Supreme Court by one of the most able, honest and spirited police officers, Prakash Singh that the obnoxious Police Act of 1861 was struck down in one go in September 2006. That too happened, not surprisingly, having ‘heard’ the petition for ten long years. The Supreme Court said, “we think that there cannot be any further wait, and the stage has come for issue of appropriate directions for immediate compliance so as to be operative till such time as a new Model Police Act is prepared by the Central Government and/or the state governments pass the requisite legislations.”

The Supreme Court ordered the establishment of three institutions at the state level with a view to insulating the police from extraneous influences, according functional autonomy and ensuring accountability. These were:

• A State Security Commission to lay down broad policies and give directions relating to the preventive and service-oriented functions of the police.
• A Police Establishment Board, comprising the Director-General of Police and four other senior officers to decide on all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Board was also tasked with making appropriate recommendations to the state government regarding the postings and transfers of officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above.
• A Police Complaints Authority at the district and state level to look into allegations of misconduct by police personnel.

In addition, the apex court ordered that the Director-General of Police should be selected by state governments from the three senior-most officers empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC. It further stipulated that the DGP should have a prescribed minimum tenure of two years. Police officers on operational duty in the field, like the Inspector general (IG) Zone, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Range, SP in charge of a district and Station House Officer (SHO) should also have a minimum tenure of two years.

But hardly these have been followed because every time there is a regime change, the entire police set up too is changed buy the incumbent political masters, bringing in their protégés and punishing those whom they thing had side with their rivals. This affects the respect for the able in the force and the virus goes down vertically.
Certainly there are still good officers in the police force and they need protection of law. It’s high time that the police forces’ control be taken off the authorities of the political set up and put under a professional autonomous body so that the people are secured and the moral of the brave men in khaki is also restored.

Security forces, whether in khaki or olive green, represent the spine of the land and the life of public institutions and democratic mechanism depends on them. Sadly they are the most ignored and left out segments. How the relatives of those brave security personnel, who were killed in action saving the lives of the parliamentarians, felt compelled to return the decorations given to their children is the saddest stories of state’s failure in recent times.

While we are nearing another anniversary of 13th December, when Parliament was attacked, can we hope that all the parties would come together to provide more teeth and facilities to our security forces and encourage their morale so that the best talent in our society feels a pride in joining forces and be the real ‘bobby’ of the people? They are the fragrance of the fire of nobility in our society; let that be preserved with all our support.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.