Prophets of doom, Sandeep Unnithan, December 26, 2008

31 12 2008

Source: India today

LASHKAR-e-TOIBA (LeT)
Founded in 1986
Chief:
Hafiz M.Saeed
Attacks: Mumbai 26/11 and Akshardham in September 2002

Hafiz M.Saeed

Hafiz M.Saeed

The biggest and best organised of the anti-India terror groups and with a manifesto professing disintegration of the country, the LeT was founded to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan.

From the early 1990s, it began infiltrating hundreds of Pakistani fighters to shore up a flagging militant movement and post-Kargil it pioneered the concept of ‘fidayeen’ or suicide gunmen, engaging the security forces in firefights to draw media and world attention.

Closely allied with the Pakistani military and functioning under the guise of a now-banned social organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the LeT is the sword arm of the ISI’s operations in the Indian hinterland.

The LeT draws its cadre from Pakistan’s Punjab province and trains them in camps near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, before infiltrating them across the Line of Control in Jammu and kashmir.

JAISH-e-MOHAMMAD (JeM)

Founded in 2000
Chief:
Maulana Masood Azhar
Attacks: Parliament in December 2001 and Ayodhya in July 2005

Maulana Masood Azhar

Maulana Masood Azhar

Founded by Maulana Masood Azhar a month after he was released for the passengers of the hijacked IC-814, the JeM is the newest terror organisation.

The Jaish and the LeT now form one of the two groups used by the ISI in its war against India. Its biggest operation outside the Kashmir Valley was the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 which nearly triggered off war between the two countries.

Azhar operates out of a fortified compound in Bahawalpur in Punjab province of Pakistan and is one of the three people India wants from pakistan, along with Dawood and Tiger Memon. The group increasingly relies on surrogate bases within Nepal, Bangladesh and the Middle East to move cadres and finances.

HARKAT-ul-JIHADI-ISLAM (HuJi)

Founded in 1989
Chief:
Qari Saifullah Akhtar
Attacks: Assam 2008 blasts, Shramjeevi Express blasts

Another Pakistan-based terror group founded during the Afghan resistance of the Soviet occupation, the HUJI quickly transformed itself into yet another group targeting India in Jammu and Kashmir. Its eastern affiliate set up in 1992— the HUJI (Bangladesh) comprising Bangladeshi veterans of the Afghan war— was declared a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department this year.With its tentacles extending from Karachi, Dhaka and Saudi Arabia, HUJI involves the underworlds of Mumbai, Gujarat and West Bengal to supply men, material and finance using hawala channels. In recent years, the HUJI (B) has emerged as the ideal candidate for the ISI’s second front in the east and in its terror campaign against India. Its activists have coordinated their attacks with the LeT, SIMI and the JeM.

HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN (HuM)

Founded in 1989
Chief:
Mohammed Yusuf Shah Aka Syed Salahuddin
Attacks: July 10 IED blast killing 10 soldiers outside Srinagar

The largest terrorist outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir, the HuM was founded as the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, reportedly at the behest of the ISI to counter the pro-independence stance of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. The HuM favoured Islamisation of J&K and its integration with Pakistan. Its activities have so far remained confined to the Valley though the arrest of members from Kerala indicates that the group may be reaching out to the rest of India as well.

INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN (IM)

Founded in 2005
Chief:
Amir Raza Khan
Attacks: Varanasi, Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad in 2008

Mohd. Tauqir

Mohd. Tauqir

The first home-grown terror network not only carried out a string of attacks in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi this year, killing over 100 persons but is believed to have been behind practically every other bomb attack since 2005, including the Mumbai train bombings and attacks in Hyderabad and Varanasi. It was founded by Amir Raza Khan, a mobster from Kolkata who shifted base to Karachi and shuttles between Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Khan founded the Asif Raza Commando Force which carried out the attack on the American Center in Kolkata in 2001 before founding the IM three years ago. The HUJI and LeT-affiliated group was divided into various modules—the Shahbuddin brigade for strikes in south India and the Ghori brigade for attacks in the north.

Key members like Atif Ameen were given training in weapons and explosives at LeT camps in Pakistan. One of the modules led by Ameen, executor of the Delhi blasts was neutralised in the Batla House encounter in Delhi while the media module which sent out detailed e-mails after each strike, was rounded up in Mumbai and Pune. But with key operative Abdus Subhan aka Tauqir on the loose along with a dozen other IM members, including Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Delhi plotters Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, the IM retains the potential to strike back at a place of its choosing.

STUDENTS ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF INDIA (SIMI)

Founded in 1977
Chief:
Safdar Nagori
Attacks: Provided logistical support in 2006 Mumbai train blasts

Safdar Nagori

Safdar Nagori

When it was banned in 2002, SIMI was always thought of as a radical Islamic organisation.

However, in its years as an underground outfit, it had morphed into a movement which called for targeted killings of political leaders and had evolved a terror agenda.

In March this year, the capture of the ‘Nagori 13’, a group of nearly 50 welleducated, highly-motivated middle class youth led by Safdar Nagori, revealed a group which fed recruits into other outfits like the LeT and HuJI and provided logistics for attacks.

SIMI members also made up the Indian Mujahideen, showing just how amorphous the outfit had become.

THE UNITED LIBERATION FRONT OF ASSAM (ULFA)

Founded in 1979
Chief:
Paresh Barua
Attacks: Serial blasts in Assam, including the October 30 serial blasts which killed 89 people

Paresh Barua

Paresh Barua

ULFA is the classic case of an organisation that began to assert the rights of native Assamese playing into the hands of the ISI. A decade ago, ULFA members were already being trained in the ISI camps and were equipped by Pakistan to wage war against India.

The organisation now has close links with other Islamic militant groups including the HuJI (B) with whom it is believed to have carried out the October 30 blasts— worst terror strike in the North east.

In January 2007, the ULFA killed more than 60 Hindi-speaking migrant workers, of whom most were from Bihar. Currently, ULFA operates out of bases in Bangladesh and is hosted by its equivalent of the ISI—the Directorate-General of Forces Intelligence.

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