THE TERRORIST

31 12 2008

Source: India today

At first glance, there is nothing that makes him distinctive in the bustling anonymity of a metropolitan street.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Nothing except that gun of disproportionate size—an AK-47—he carries in his right hand. Everything else—grey cargos, faux Versace, overstuffed rucksack and floppy hair— adds to the generic drabness of a backpacker, though his movement is not dictated by a well-travelled Lonely Planet but the Book of Higher Directions.

He is not a grainy image confined to the front pages or the small screens any longer; he has migrated to the consciousness of a nation savaged.

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

He is the lone survivor of the gang of 10 that, in the span of 60 hours that may have seemed longer than eternity to those who are condemned to mourn, turned the emblematic city of corporate aspiration and cosmopolitan attitude into the scalded soul of India.

He is the living residue of the Evil that spreads from streets to railway station, from hotel rooms to Jewish quarters, from the frozen gaze of the dead to the seared sighs of the living, leaving behind a wreckage of fear and anger, grief and dread. Ajmal Amir Kasab is his name. We have seen him; we seem to know him. He is one of them. The most recognisable one. The terrorist we are getting familiar with.

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

The word is almost worn-out, and its banality is accentuated by its recurrence. Terror, terrorism, terrorist—the dictionary tells us that the words are rooted in fear. Extreme fear evoked by rage, violence, fantasy and hate.

The professional with terror as his calling card pictures himself as freedom’s last warrior, guided by gods and ideology, and accessorised by wares of death, preferably death in a spectacular backdrop.

His definition of freedom, though, excludes the essential dignity of what he calls the enemy and what the rest of us see as humanity.

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

The recesses of our cruellest yesterdays are filled with the legends of his madness; and in the iconography of history, his synonyms are many: revolutionary, crusader, assassin… Terrorist is a rebel with a nihilistic fury, and whose vision of liberation is hell for the other.

In the last century, terror at its sanguineous worst was ideological, and it was a necessary condition for the creation of the empires of the working class.

The Great Terror of Stalin, institutionalisation of the gulag, Cultural Revolution of Mao, the killing fields of Pol Pot, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the Baathist horror chamber that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (aptly described as the Republic of Fear by an exiled dissident writer)— they were all extreme manifestations of revolutionary instinct.

And remember: every revolutionary begins as a romantic, triumphs as a liberator and rules as a terrorist.

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Around the time the god of ideology began to fail in the Soviet block, the god of the Book joined the freedom struggle in Persia.

The Great Islamic Revolution of Iran was the 20th century’s first introduction to faith-in-power.

It was a war against modernity and it signalled the restoration of the absolutism of religion.

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

It inspired the street fighters of Islam, whose ascent in the post-communist world spawned a new age of fear, for the ambition of radical Islamism too was extra territorial.

The Sword of Islam would become more than a metaphor.

On September 11 in 2001, the rage of religion would reach its zenith, literally, and the flames that melted down the twin towers of the World Trade Center would magnify the new mascot of terror.

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire-turned-Islamic “liberator”, looked like a bearded mountain god with a Kalashnikov in that videotape, and his commandments, delivered from Mount Jihad, were a declaration of war against infidels: “America is struck by Almighty God in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed… America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God. What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated… God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims, the forefront of Islam, to destroy America. May God bless them and allot them a supreme place in heaven…”

Those words by Islam’s Che-in-the-cave hardly hide the enormity of hate or the imaginary history of suffering.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

They celebrate the cult of martyrdom and promise paradise to the killer. Replace America with another country and the words won’t lose its resonance.

Al Qaeda may not be the operational base of terror any longer and Osama may be withering away somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, though the idea continues to kill and the dateline of death keeps changing and the killer never stops updating the technology to make every strike as spectacular as 9/11.

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

The terrorist has become the fastest traveller in the socalled flat world. He has already caused the first two wars of this century.

The war in Iraq has cost one of the world’s most ruthless dictators his country as well as his life, and made the warrior-in-chief the least popular president of America in recent history.

It has also set the stage for the first African-American occupant of the White House. If Iraq is the just war that has gone wrong, the war in Afghanistan is about to get added priority under the new dispensation in Washington.

September 13: Delhi

September 13: Delhi

The war on terror unites nations and divides the mind. When the terrorist kills and, invariably gets killed, he achieves more than martyrdom; he becomes a force that can change the course of national histories. He becomes the arbiter of our everyday life.

India should know. The horror of 9/11 may have introduced America to the reality of a brand new Evil Empire. India’s experience with Islamist terrorism is older than 9/11. We have been living through it with our unmatched sense of sangfroid. Then, the tragedy of Kashmir has never been spectacular. Even the attack on the Indian Parliament in the afterglow of 9/11 has failed to make us one of the most vulnerable victims in the eyes of the rest. We were alone in our suffering and we excelled in our stoicism—in our pathological passivity.

The terrorist could not have chosen an easier battlefield, for in the wake of every attack on India, we saw the grotesquerie of politics feasting on the dead. Lives were getting cheaper here, dispensable and disposable; it was as if we were swarming marketplaces and railway compartments to make jihad a story told in the blackened blood of India. And the face that reflects in the blood that India shed in the year 2008, our annus horribilis, is the face of the terrorist, a pronoun of fear we are still struggling to comprehend.

May 13: Jaipur

May 13: Jaipur

Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and many more with lesser impact and death toll have become topographical sketches in the narrative of a nation terrorised. Each of these places is a story in itself. The retelling only makes us aware of our own weakness as a nation, the twisted morality of our politics, and, most frighteningly, our refusal to violate the freedom of the terrorist.

Still, to remember is to calm the dead. In Jaipur (May, 80 killed), the picture postcard city, Ahmedabad (July, 53 killed), a power house economic development with glaring communal fault lines, and Delhi (September, 26 killed), the national capital, the killers chose the method of serial blasts—jihad as cowardice. In Mumbai on October 30, it was a frontal attack on the financial citadel, prolonged and spectacular, and the killers were ready to be killed for the cause. A textbook case of fidayeen (suicide) attack: make hell, gain houris in paradise. Excluding Kashmir and the North-east, over 400 Indians and foreigners were killed in the struggle for a unipolar caliphate.

For, only the naïve and the politically dishonest would argue that the terrorist has no religion. Say it once more and you would be further insulting his god and his mission. The ideology of jihad is as old as Islam, and it has become so elastic a term that it can suit the bloodlust of the revolutionary as well as the pacifism of the preacher. The cult of permanent struggle runs through the liberation text of almost every guru of “pristine” Islam, whether it is Syed Qutb, considered to be the patron saint of modern jihad, or Hasan al-Banna, who established the Muslim Brotherhood, or Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-i-Islami, or Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the apostle of “absolute monotheism”.

Modern jihad, as the Egyptian Qutb, himself a martyr, laid out in his influential Milestones, radical Islam’s mandatory samizdat reading, is an active rejoinder to the godless ways of the West and the culture of jahiliyyah (ignorance): “There is only one place on earth which can be called the home of Islam, and it is the place where the Islamic state is established and the Shariah is the authority and God’s limits are observed and where all Muslims administer the affairs of the state with mutual consultation.”

The terrorist is the god’s volunteer who gives his life and takes others’ for a future built on a perfumed past. He returns to the purity of the Book when the world around him becomes too profane, worthy of annihilation. In his hallucinatory vision, the India of 2008 was such a place. His grievance is not just Kashmir; the very concept of India is incompatible with his idea of justice. Every revolution needs an enemy; if there is none, the revolutionary will invent one.

With the exception of Malegaon, which points to the possibility of “saffron terror”, every attack on India bore the imprint of the jihadi. He doesn’t always cross the sea to reach the target, and his nationality is not necessarily Pakistani. As the encounter at Batla House near the Jamia Millia campus in Delhi revealed, the terrorist could very well be the boy in the next classroom who had come to the big city from his home town of Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh. (Azamgarh, a favourite destination in terror tourism, has earned its notoriety as the common back story of almost every terrorist attack in the country.) That is the thing about the modern jihadi.

He could be the product and the beneficiary of a liberal democracy like India. He would use every aspect of freedom it has to offer for the perpetuation of hate, for making the war against civilisation fool-proof. He would employ every technological trick of the satanic enemy for the success of his mission. His allegiance is not to the flag of his country; his identity is not defined by his nationality. He is the citizen of a scriptural make believe; he is here on a sacred assignment.

Still, the India after November 26 is a different country. For once, there is a confluence of grief and anger and patriotism. This time, there is no dispute about the nationality of the terrorist; there is little doubt about the identity of his benefactor either. The nation has ceased to be a dirty word across the ideological divide, though the communists refuse to change. The politician has not been allowed hawk terror for the preservation of the vote bank, and someone called A.R. Antulay looks convincingly repulsive as he scavenges the debris for postponing his political redundancy.

The rage of the terrorist has sharpened our perception about the enemy: Pakistan is not just an Indian obsession, or a diversionary bogeyman; the Islamic Republic is the original Jihadistan, our unrepentant tormentor. The terrorist has also forced us to look within.

Our failure in national security is huge, and we are beginning to accept the reality that the war on terror is not always someone else’s war. It’s our war too. The world has survived the ideology that built some of the biggest graveyards in history, and the world will overcome the theology that terrorises us with its medieval fury. The Newsmaker of the year won’t be the maker of our destiny, Inshallah.

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THE TERRORIST

31 12 2008

Source: India today

At first glance, there is nothing that makes him distinctive in the bustling anonymity of a metropolitan street.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Nothing except that gun of disproportionate size—an AK-47—he carries in his right hand. Everything else—grey cargos, faux Versace, overstuffed rucksack and floppy hair— adds to the generic drabness of a backpacker, though his movement is not dictated by a well-travelled Lonely Planet but the Book of Higher Directions.

He is not a grainy image confined to the front pages or the small screens any longer; he has migrated to the consciousness of a nation savaged.

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

He is the lone survivor of the gang of 10 that, in the span of 60 hours that may have seemed longer than eternity to those who are condemned to mourn, turned the emblematic city of corporate aspiration and cosmopolitan attitude into the scalded soul of India.

He is the living residue of the Evil that spreads from streets to railway station, from hotel rooms to Jewish quarters, from the frozen gaze of the dead to the seared sighs of the living, leaving behind a wreckage of fear and anger, grief and dread. Ajmal Amir Kasab is his name. We have seen him; we seem to know him. He is one of them. The most recognisable one. The terrorist we are getting familiar with.

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

The word is almost worn-out, and its banality is accentuated by its recurrence. Terror, terrorism, terrorist—the dictionary tells us that the words are rooted in fear. Extreme fear evoked by rage, violence, fantasy and hate.

The professional with terror as his calling card pictures himself as freedom’s last warrior, guided by gods and ideology, and accessorised by wares of death, preferably death in a spectacular backdrop.

His definition of freedom, though, excludes the essential dignity of what he calls the enemy and what the rest of us see as humanity.

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

The recesses of our cruellest yesterdays are filled with the legends of his madness; and in the iconography of history, his synonyms are many: revolutionary, crusader, assassin… Terrorist is a rebel with a nihilistic fury, and whose vision of liberation is hell for the other.

In the last century, terror at its sanguineous worst was ideological, and it was a necessary condition for the creation of the empires of the working class.

The Great Terror of Stalin, institutionalisation of the gulag, Cultural Revolution of Mao, the killing fields of Pol Pot, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the Baathist horror chamber that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (aptly described as the Republic of Fear by an exiled dissident writer)— they were all extreme manifestations of revolutionary instinct.

And remember: every revolutionary begins as a romantic, triumphs as a liberator and rules as a terrorist.

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Around the time the god of ideology began to fail in the Soviet block, the god of the Book joined the freedom struggle in Persia.

The Great Islamic Revolution of Iran was the 20th century’s first introduction to faith-in-power.

It was a war against modernity and it signalled the restoration of the absolutism of religion.

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

It inspired the street fighters of Islam, whose ascent in the post-communist world spawned a new age of fear, for the ambition of radical Islamism too was extra territorial.

The Sword of Islam would become more than a metaphor.

On September 11 in 2001, the rage of religion would reach its zenith, literally, and the flames that melted down the twin towers of the World Trade Center would magnify the new mascot of terror.

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire-turned-Islamic “liberator”, looked like a bearded mountain god with a Kalashnikov in that videotape, and his commandments, delivered from Mount Jihad, were a declaration of war against infidels: “America is struck by Almighty God in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed… America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God. What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated… God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims, the forefront of Islam, to destroy America. May God bless them and allot them a supreme place in heaven…”

Those words by Islam’s Che-in-the-cave hardly hide the enormity of hate or the imaginary history of suffering.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

They celebrate the cult of martyrdom and promise paradise to the killer. Replace America with another country and the words won’t lose its resonance.

Al Qaeda may not be the operational base of terror any longer and Osama may be withering away somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, though the idea continues to kill and the dateline of death keeps changing and the killer never stops updating the technology to make every strike as spectacular as 9/11.

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

The terrorist has become the fastest traveller in the socalled flat world. He has already caused the first two wars of this century.

The war in Iraq has cost one of the world’s most ruthless dictators his country as well as his life, and made the warrior-in-chief the least popular president of America in recent history.

It has also set the stage for the first African-American occupant of the White House. If Iraq is the just war that has gone wrong, the war in Afghanistan is about to get added priority under the new dispensation in Washington.

Delhi

September 13: Delhi

The war on terror unites nations and divides the mind. When the terrorist kills and, invariably gets killed, he achieves more than martyrdom; he becomes a force that can change the course of national histories. He becomes the arbiter of our everyday life.

India should know. The horror of 9/11 may have introduced America to the reality of a brand new Evil Empire. India’s experience with Islamist terrorism is older than 9/11. We have been living through it with our unmatched sense of sangfroid. Then, the tragedy of Kashmir has never been spectacular. Even the attack on the Indian Parliament in the afterglow of 9/11 has failed to make us one of the most vulnerable victims in the eyes of the rest. We were alone in our suffering and we excelled in our stoicism—in our pathological passivity.

The terrorist could not have chosen an easier battlefield, for in the wake of every attack on India, we saw the grotesquerie of politics feasting on the dead. Lives were getting cheaper here, dispensable and disposable; it was as if we were swarming marketplaces and railway compartments to make jihad a story told in the blackened blood of India. And the face that reflects in the blood that India shed in the year 2008, our annus horribilis, is the face of the terrorist, a pronoun of fear we are still struggling to comprehend.

Jaipur

May 13: Jaipur

Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and many more with lesser impact and death toll have become topographical sketches in the narrative of a nation terrorised. Each of these places is a story in itself. The retelling only makes us aware of our own weakness as a nation, the twisted morality of our politics, and, most frighteningly, our refusal to violate the freedom of the terrorist.

Still, to remember is to calm the dead. In Jaipur (May, 80 killed), the picture postcard city, Ahmedabad (July, 53 killed), a power house economic development with glaring communal fault lines, and Delhi (September, 26 killed), the national capital, the killers chose the method of serial blasts—jihad as cowardice. In Mumbai on October 30, it was a frontal attack on the financial citadel, prolonged and spectacular, and the killers were ready to be killed for the cause. A textbook case of fidayeen (suicide) attack: make hell, gain houris in paradise. Excluding Kashmir and the North-east, over 400 Indians and foreigners were killed in the struggle for a unipolar caliphate.

For, only the naïve and the politically dishonest would argue that the terrorist has no religion. Say it once more and you would be further insulting his god and his mission. The ideology of jihad is as old as Islam, and it has become so elastic a term that it can suit the bloodlust of the revolutionary as well as the pacifism of the preacher. The cult of permanent struggle runs through the liberation text of almost every guru of “pristine” Islam, whether it is Syed Qutb, considered to be the patron saint of modern jihad, or Hasan al-Banna, who established the Muslim Brotherhood, or Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-i-Islami, or Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the apostle of “absolute monotheism”.

Modern jihad, as the Egyptian Qutb, himself a martyr, laid out in his influential Milestones, radical Islam’s mandatory samizdat reading, is an active rejoinder to the godless ways of the West and the culture of jahiliyyah (ignorance): “There is only one place on earth which can be called the home of Islam, and it is the place where the Islamic state is established and the Shariah is the authority and God’s limits are observed and where all Muslims administer the affairs of the state with mutual consultation.”

The terrorist is the god’s volunteer who gives his life and takes others’ for a future built on a perfumed past. He returns to the purity of the Book when the world around him becomes too profane, worthy of annihilation. In his hallucinatory vision, the India of 2008 was such a place. His grievance is not just Kashmir; the very concept of India is incompatible with his idea of justice. Every revolution needs an enemy; if there is none, the revolutionary will invent one.

With the exception of Malegaon, which points to the possibility of “saffron terror”, every attack on India bore the imprint of the jihadi. He doesn’t always cross the sea to reach the target, and his nationality is not necessarily Pakistani. As the encounter at Batla House near the Jamia Millia campus in Delhi revealed, the terrorist could very well be the boy in the next classroom who had come to the big city from his home town of Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh. (Azamgarh, a favourite destination in terror tourism, has earned its notoriety as the common back story of almost every terrorist attack in the country.) That is the thing about the modern jihadi.

He could be the product and the beneficiary of a liberal democracy like India. He would use every aspect of freedom it has to offer for the perpetuation of hate, for making the war against civilisation fool-proof. He would employ every technological trick of the satanic enemy for the success of his mission. His allegiance is not to the flag of his country; his identity is not defined by his nationality. He is the citizen of a scriptural make believe; he is here on a sacred assignment.

Still, the India after November 26 is a different country. For once, there is a confluence of grief and anger and patriotism. This time, there is no dispute about the nationality of the terrorist; there is little doubt about the identity of his benefactor either. The nation has ceased to be a dirty word across the ideological divide, though the communists refuse to change. The politician has not been allowed hawk terror for the preservation of the vote bank, and someone called A.R. Antulay looks convincingly repulsive as he scavenges the debris for postponing his political redundancy.

The rage of the terrorist has sharpened our perception about the enemy: Pakistan is not just an Indian obsession, or a diversionary bogeyman; the Islamic Republic is the original Jihadistan, our unrepentant tormentor. The terrorist has also forced us to look within.

Our failure in national security is huge, and we are beginning to accept the reality that the war on terror is not always someone else’s war. It’s our war too. The world has survived the ideology that built some of the biggest graveyards in history, and the world will overcome the theology that terrorises us with its medieval fury. The Newsmaker of the year won’t be the maker of our destiny, Inshallah.





The Rediff Special/Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad

27 07 2008

The Rediff Special/Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad

July 19, 2004

I would like to meet Bachubhai whose son was killed in Kashmir,” I request the elderly lady facing me.

I am at the door of a modest two-room dwelling in Damarwali chawl, located in the Shahpur area of Ahmedabad, the old part of the city.

She looks me over before letting me in and offering me a chair. “He is not in,” she says, “He will come soon. I am his wife. Tell me what do you want?”

I tell her I have information from the state home ministry about a Gujarati boy named Ayub Bachubhai who had become a jihadi. I was told he was killed in Jammu and Kashmir and that the Intelligence Bureau had identified his dead body before he was buried somewhere in Jammu and Kashmir along the border.

I was also told that Ayub’s family has received a letter from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, informing them about his death. [The letters are in Urdu and one in Gujarati]

The lady is Nyanat, Ayub’s mother. A big-built lady with sharp features and a commanding presence, she is a Rajasthani Muslim who has settled down in Ahmedabad. Her husband Bachubhai was born in Ahmedabad. She has eight daughters, including one who was adopted recently, and two sons, of whom the elder was Ayub. Inside the house are her younger son Salim and two adult daughters, sewing school uniforms. They are trained tailors, their mother tells me.

The adjoining room has a well-set kitchen. Though living in a chawl, the kitchen appears well stocked with a refrigerator and other kitchen accessories.

Before I can ask any question she tells me in Marwari-accented Hindi that her son Ayub is alive. But she adds that the family has no clue about Ayub ever since he left home in August 2002. The sisters tell me they have full faith in Allah that he is fine.

Nyanat starts sobbing when I ask her about her son. Over the next three hours, amid much sobbing, she narrates her tale of woe:

MY son is a friendly person. My husband is a retired building contractor who built this chawl with about 80 rooms. My family and my husband’s brother have four, five rooms. The rest are rented out at very low rates to Dalits. Except for our four families, all our neighbours are Hindus. In 2002, when riots broke out after Godhra, my husband and I were in our native village in Rajasthan but my children were here. In our chawl, we are respected by our Hindu neighbours and we never had any communal trouble. We are all peace loving.

“My son has few Muslim friends. He has mostly Hindus friends from Meghani Nagar where he was working. When riots went on for a long time, our neighbours advised my children to shift to a safer area. My son Ayub rented a room in the municipal quarters at Mahendikua, a Muslim-majority area. The room belong to Yusuf Khan, who has a brother, also named Ayub.

“Ayub Khan ran a garage while my son Ayub worked in a lawyer’s office. We don’t know what happened between them but one day, when my daughters were sewing in the morning and Ayub was getting ready to go to his office, Ayub Khan came looking for my son. It was around 11 am on a weekday in August 2002. Ayub Khan told my son to pack his bags to go to Kashmir. Earlier too, Khan had come twice to our house, inquiring about my son.

“At this time, we were still in Rajasthan. My son told his sister Naseem that he was going to Kashmir with Ayub Khan for six to seven weeks on an assignment. He said he would get Rs 5,000. Since the riots had affected our finances severely, he accepted the assignment.

“After some time, I came back from Rajasthan. When Ayub didn’t return in seven weeks, we started worrying. My younger son kept going to Ayub Khan who kept saying he would return soon. We were petrified of our son becoming a jihadi. He was just not that type. Khan told my other son Salim that Ayub is fine and there is no reason to worry. He was told he has gone to deliver bananas and would come back with truck full of apples.

“When we mounted heavy pressure on him, he said Ayub has sent some money and he gave Salim Rs 4,000 and a letter returned by him.

“We went to the rented place where Ayub and Yusuf live. Yusuf’s wife Sabiya took us to Ayub’s father-in-law, Abdul Latif Kashmiri alias Kashmiri Lala, who lives in Vatva [a suburb of Ahmedabad]. I told him to get my son back from Kashmir.

“Initially, he said he was unaware of my son’s whereabouts but later agreed to bring him back on his next trip to Poonch in Kashmir. Lala is a native of Kashmir. His first wife and family live in Poonch [in Jammu]. He is also married to a lady in Ahmedabad and settled here.

“I curse him and his jamai (son-in-law, viz Ayub Khan) every day. They have snatched away my son for money. They have sold him for Rs 1 lakh to the militants,” she alleges.

“It is a trying time for us. I have eight daughters. My husband is 65 years old. We are not getting suitable boys for my daughters in our community. We never marry our daughters into other Muslim communities. I have no idea what will happen to my family.

Also Read: How Gujarat plans to counter terrorists

“SABIYA (Yusuf Khan’s wife) told us that her cousin (her maternal uncle’s son), Assadullah Kalyani, was also sent to Kashmir by Ayub Khan. At that time, Ayub Khan did not know that Kalyani was Sabiya’s cousin.

“Kalyani, who lives in the Khanpur locality in Ahmedabad, escaped from the militants and returned home. He was probably trained in the use of arms and was kept with my son Ayub in the Kashmir jungles. But after three months, they were separated. He told us they were always kept on the mountains peaks and were never allowed to come down the hills.

“Kalyani told us when my Ayub heard on the radio about the attack on the Akshardham temple (on September 24, 2002) he came down from the hills. He wanted to go home but he was not allowed. Kalyani told us he was worried about his sisters.

“It was after Kalyani revealed his story to the Gujarat police that Ayub Khan and Kashmiri Lala were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act. It was only then that we came to know of their plans to lure Muslim boys from Gujarat to Kashmir.

“Kalyani told us that five Gujarati Muslim boys accompanied him to Kashmir. They too had been recruited by Ayub Khan and Lala, both of who came to see them off at the railway station. All the boys were told they would be employed in the transport business.

“We are not aware about what all happened in Kashmir but we know for sure that Kalyani and Guddo Ansari, who is also from Ahmedabad, went to Kashmir with my son. But they have returned. They were arrested by the police and kept in jail for two or three months. They were treated well. They have told everything to the police and have been released. They are happily settled again, leading a normal life.

“Unlike these two Gujaratis, my son could not escape the militants because they claim he was sent to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. I kept visiting Lala. He would only keep saying that after the snow melts, he would get back my son from Kashmir. After Kashmiri Lala’s arrest, I kept meeting his wife Shamshad and her daughter Mehjabin. I would cry and plead, ‘Mera chokra la kar de‘ (Bring back my son).

“In our community and in my neighbourhood I haven’t hid the fact that my son is missing. Our neighbours understand our pain. But don’t take my pictures. In the next riots, we may be targeted. Outsiders can identify us and target us because they would say ‘Iska chokra Kashmir bhag gaya‘ (Her son ran away to Kashmir).

“Kalyani, who has escaped the militants’ clutches, knows everything. At one point, Shamshad promised me she would go to Kashmir and get my son back. She went to Kashmir but returned without my son. They entertained us for some time but three months back she refused to heed my pleas.

“A few months ago, I received a mail from Oman. The address was Post Box 1630, Jabro Matrah, Sultanate of Oman. The short mail said, ‘Mera beta shahid ho gaya hai‘ (My son has become a martyr).

“We cried and cried, but we don’t believe this mail. We called up the police and told them about it. They asked us some questions.

“I have visited many astrologers and even religious figures from the Dalit community. All of them have assured me that my son is alive and will come back. He can’t become a jihadi.

“The Gujarat police only harass jihadis or Muslims who are against our society. They have released Kalyani and Guddo. We are sure that my son will not be harassed if he tells the truth to the police. Many people have insisted I should do fatia (the final rites) of Ayub, but I have said a firm no. Ma ka dil kaheta hai voh jinda hai! (A mother’s heart says he is alive!).”

LATER, to convince me about Kashmiri Lala’s involvement in sending her son to Kashmir, Nyanat takes me to Sabiya’s home. Sabiya confirms she had taken Nyanat to Kashmiri Lala. She also confirms that her cousin Kalyani has returned to Gujarat from Kashmir.

Kalyani’s parents refuse to allow him to talk to me while Guddo Ansari is not available when I visit his home. His family also confirms he has returned from Kashmir.

Image: Uday Kuckian





India’s most wanted….

25 06 2008

From: http://www.rediff.com

May 13 was an important day in India’s fight against terror. Nine low-intensity blasts went off in the tourist city of Jaipur, killing 62 people. Places of worship and crowded areas were targeted. It was the day when India changed the questions it usually asks after a terrorist attack. No more why, how or who. From now on, it will only be ‘when and where next?’

The nature of terrorism has changed over the past three decades. Concentrated in the Valley for the better part of the 1980s, it moved to big cities — particularly Mumbai in the 1990s. Since the turn of the millennium, it began trickling down to the smaller cities.

As India searches for a way to combat this wave of terror — which agencies believe is being orchestrated by the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence — here is a look at the country’s top ten most wanted men. The 10 names, by itself, neatly define terrorism in India: Some outfits born from India’s bloodiest phase of violence before the Kashmir Valley became a hotbed in the 1980s — the Khalistan movement.

Intelligence agencies say they are gaining capability to strike in India. Also a part of this list are past masters of all things crime and anti-national: the Mumbai mafia. These may seem like spent forces, but they are very much active and help the ISI in many ways, the intelligence agencies say.

Rounding off the list of India’s most wanted are the men of the moment: the face of terror in India as we know it today and a faceless man, a man who for all you know is now plotting the answer to those two questions: ‘When and where next’.

Click on the thumbnails for details

Rahil Abdul
Shahid Bilal
Dawood Ibrahim
Abdul Tunda


Tiger Memon

Lakhbir Singh Rode

Ranjit Singh Neeta

Paramjit Singh
Chota Shakeel
Ayub Memon




India’s most wanted….

25 06 2008

From: http://www.rediff.com

May 13 was an important day in India’s fight against terror. Nine low-intensity blasts went off in the tourist city of Jaipur, killing 62 people. Places of worship and crowded areas were targeted. It was the day when India changed the questions it usually asks after a terrorist attack. No more why, how or who. From now on, it will only be ‘when and where next?’

The nature of terrorism has changed over the past three decades. Concentrated in the Valley for the better part of the 1980s, it moved to big cities — particularly Mumbai in the 1990s. Since the turn of the millennium, it began trickling down to the smaller cities.

As India searches for a way to combat this wave of terror — which agencies believe is being orchestrated by the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence — here is a look at the country’s top ten most wanted men. The 10 names, by itself, neatly define terrorism in India: Some outfits born from India’s bloodiest phase of violence before the Kashmir Valley became a hotbed in the 1980s — the Khalistan movement.

Intelligence agencies say they are gaining capability to strike in India. Also a part of this list are past masters of all things crime and anti-national: the Mumbai mafia. These may seem like spent forces, but they are very much active and help the ISI in many ways, the intelligence agencies say.

Rounding off the list of India’s most wanted are the men of the moment: the face of terror in India as we know it today and a faceless man, a man who for all you know is now plotting the answer to those two questions: ‘When and where next’.

Click on the thumbnails for details

Rahil Abdul
Shahid Bilal
Dawood Ibrahim
Abdul Tunda


Tiger Memon

Lakhbir Singh Rode

Ranjit Singh Neeta

Paramjit Singh
Chota Shakeel
Ayub Memon




Analysis: Who is a terrorist?

20 10 2007

Analysis: Who is a terrorist?
By the BBC’s Allan Little
In an effort to rally America after 11 September President Bush said: “There are good causes and bad causes. But there is no such thing as a good terrorist. “Every nation must know that they are either with us or they are with the terrorist. No nation can pick and choose its terrorist friends,” he added. Mayor Rudolf Giuliani of New York summed up the rage of an entire nation – and the unimpeachable sense of righteousness on which that rage is founded – when he said: “Those who practise terrorism lose any right to have their cause understood … We’re right, they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.” But the experience of those states who have had to fight terrorism over many years and even decades suggests it is seldom as simple as that. (For more click here to BBC’s article )

Iraqi Insurgent Media Campaign Targets American Audiences
The Jamestown Foundation

Since the September 11 attacks, the internet has emerged as a pillar of radical Islamist propaganda efforts against the United States by al-Qaeda and other groups. Extremist websites and chat forums provide radicals and sympathizers with moral and theological justification for acts of violence and terrorism, acts framed as legitimate self-defense against what is widely perceived as a U.S.-led campaign against Islam. The internet is also a platform for disseminating tactical, operational and strategic expertise, to include instructions on constructing explosives, analyses of battlefield lessons learned and discussions on targeting selection. (For more on the article go here at Jamestown foundation)





Terrorism through the seas

20 09 2007

Earlier, terrorists would either come in from Pakistan via land through Kashmir or from Nepal into the border districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They would also come into West Bengal or the North East from Bangladesh.

However, now two arrested LeT terrorists have revealed the new preference for the sea route, saying that most terror outfits use it as it is a much safer option.

According to sources in the Intelligence Bureau, terrorists start on boats from Karachi in Pakistan. From there the boat reaches Jafna in Sri Lanka, where the terrorists get their supply of arms and ammunition.
Here, they are also given a makeover so that they can blend in with local fishermen. Once the makeover is done, these terrorists head for one of the many beaches in Chennai.