Seven killed in Assam bomb blast By Subir Bhaumik BBC News, Calcutta

6 04 2009

Seven people have been killed in a bomb explosion in India’s north-eastern state

Bomb scene in Guwahati

The blast comes as India prepares for its general election

of Assam.

The bomb, concealed in a car, exploded outside a busy restaurant close to the local headquarters of Indian railways in Guwahati.

Two other attacks in Assam – in the towns of Dhekiajuli and Mankachar – have left 10 people hurt.

Police told the BBC the separatist United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) was responsible for the explosions.

‘Raising Day’

Assam police chief GM Srivastava told the BBC two people were killed at the scene in Guwahati’s Maligaon district and five more died of their wounds in hospital.

Many vehicles were destroyed by the explosion.

Many bystanders helped the injured although angry mobs also pelted police and public transport with stones after the explosion.

Map

Correspondents said blood and body parts were strewn over the entrance to the restaurant.

In a second attack, a bomb exploded in a market in the town of Dhekiajuli. Eight people were hurt, two seriously.

In the third, two people were wounded by a grenade in Mankachar in the western district of Dhubri.

Last week more than 10 people were injured when a bomb exploded not far from where India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was to address a rally.

Mr Srivastava said: “[The Ulfa] set off bombs before their “Raising Day” every year and this year is no different. We have information of some Ulfa strike squads entering Assam in the past 15 days and we are trying to pin them down.”

The Ulfa was raised, or founded, on 7 April 1979 to fight for Assam’s independence.

Intelligence officials say Ulfa is also flexing its muscles before the forthcoming Indian parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit Assam on Tuesday to campaign for his Congress party.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said: “The Ulfa is killing the innocent people of Assam. They will be punished by our people.”

He said Ulfa was trying to disrupt the elections.

The organisation has been relatively quiet in recent months after being suspected of carrying out massive serial explosions in October last year, in which 87 people died.

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One killed in blast in India’s restive Assam state

5 04 2009

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 13:42:09 GMT
New Delhi – One person was killed and 15 injured Tuesday in a bomb blast carried out by suspected separatist militants in India’s north-eastern state of Assam, news reports said. The blast occurred in a busy market in the Jyotikuchi area of the state capital, Guwahati, when foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was addressing reporters 3 kilometres away, the IANS news agency reported.

Police officials told the IANS that the bomb was planted on a motorcycle and went off in an area full of evening shoppers and vendors. The explosion took place minutes after Mukherjee, a senior leader of the Congress party, expressed fears about terrorist strikes during monthlong, five-phase staggered general elections that are to begin April 16. “We fear terrorist attacks, but having said that, we are ready to counter such threats,” he told reporters. Police in the troubled Indian state usually blame the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for bomb blasts and grenade attacks.

The ULFA, Assam’s biggest separatist outfit, has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1979. India’s north-east, which shares borders with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, is a volatile region where nearly 40 separatist, tribal or leftist groups are active in five states. More than 15,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the region in the past decade.





Alipurduar bomb blast kills one, injures 12

20 03 2009
Alipurduar bomb blast kills one, injures 12
Press Trust of India / Jalpaiguri (wb) March 18, 2009, 13:32 IST

At least one person was killed and 12 others injured when a bomb rigged to a cycle exploded at Alipurduar town in north Bengal today.

The cycle-bomb exploded at a super market complex at Chowpathy in a busy area of the town, IG, north Bengal, K L Tamta told PTI.

He said the bomb was a very powerful one. However, its exact nature was being ascertained.

Asked if it could be the handiwork of the ULFA, he said, “Why should ULFA insurgents come here?”

He said two years ago there was a similar cycle-bomb explosion at Barobisa in the Alipurduar sub-division.

Ananth Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Jalpaiguri, said some people escaped with minor injuries. The injured have been admitted to a Alipurduar sub-divisional hospital.

Tamta said the area had been cordoned off and a bomb squad has been sent to the area.

The deceased has been identified as Sujit Das, 27.

Extremists of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and ULFA are active in the area.





THE TERRORIST – Weaponary

31 12 2008

Source: India today

AK-47 and variants

The terrorist operation in Mumbai was a confluence of time-tested tactics, ruthless ingenuity and accessories

The terrorist operation in Mumbai was a confluence of time-tested tactics, ruthless ingenuity and accessories

The weapon,patented by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the year of India’s independence is available for as little as Rs 5,000, or the cost of a midlevel mobile phone, in Peshawar.

The AK-47 and its variants—the largest produced weapon in history—are the weapons of choice for terrorists.

It is rugged, compact and effective and boasts of a very high rate of fire. Can fire after being dragged through mud or soaked in water. The Chinese clone, the Type-56 which in an Indianism is called the AK-56, varies only slightly from the Russian original.

This is one of the most proliferated weapons. It takes months of training and thousand of rounds of practice to be able to wield this weapon with ease. A seasoned terrorist, for a speedy reload, always tapes a spare magazine to his AK-47.

Rucksack

From the four fidayeen who attacked Parliament to Kasab and his group, the ubiquitous haversack—stuffed with arms, ammunition and yes, dry fruits—has been the carrier of choice.

COMMUNICATION

Rapid advances in technology have given terrorists secure communication.

Satellite Phone
For close to a decade the satellite phone has been di rigueur for terrorists operating in India. It is similar to a cellular telephone, except that it bounces its signal off orbiting satellites and offers users hassle-free communication across the globe. After Indian intelligence agencies started monitoring satphones—remember General Musharraf’s self-congratulatory conversation with his deputy—terrorists kept scaling the technology ladder. First, the senior brass, now the lower ranks too, of the Lashkare-Toiba (LeT) use Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) phones—the equivalent of 3G mobile phones which India cannot intercept. BGAN service provider Inmarsat’s gateway is located in the UK which again makes it difficult to access intercepts.

Blackberry
Terrorists at the Taj kept in touch with their Karachi handlers through Blackberries just because it uses 256-bit encryption technology, which is difficult to crack. Even its Canadabased makers claim they cannot decode mails sent using their technology.

Grameen phone
Bangladesh’s Grameen phone made technology accessible to the common man. Based on a non-standard GSM technology which cannot be monitored, the poor man’s phone is in use by the ULFA and NSCN, becoming a major headache for Indian agencies.

Internet telephony
The voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phone which too cannot be monitored uses technology like Skype and allows internet telephony.

EXPLOSIVES

ARGES 84 grenades
During the 1979-88 Afghan war, the CIA and ISI concealed the origin of weaponry used against the Soviets by hand-filing ordnance factory stamps off millions of cartridges. But terrorists who operate in India blithely carry ARGES 84 grenades bearing the stamp of Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah. Can be thrown up to 50 m and has a kill radius of 5 m.

Improvised Explosive Devices
The Devil’s Seed is slang for landmines but could be used for the IEDs used in blasts recently in India as well. The IEDs used by the Indian Mujahideen resemble Claymore mines used by the military. Packed with RDX, ammonium nitrate and steel ball bearings, these can cause mayhem in marketplaces and commuter transport. Can be fitted into cars or pipes and triggered using phones.

NAVIGATION

Global Positioning System
Through a network of 32 satellites, a user can tell his exact location on the surface of the earth. Invaluable for the terrorist who wants to navigate undetected over the sea using ‘way points’—a series of fixed coordinates—or by land across the Line of Control.Amobilephone sized GPS receiver costs only around Rs 10,000.

Google Earth
Most places on earth,especially cities are rendered in fine detail by commercial satellite imagery that makes up the Google Earth library.Used routinely by terrorists, including the Mumbai killers, to study the ‘lay of the land’, recce targets and study approaches to them.

Steganographs
Messages hidden in pictures which can be deciphered only by a person who has the key. India does not have the capability to decipher these.Just two weeks before 26/11, intelligence agencies had come across a picture of Iqbal, the poet-philosopher of Pakistan, with a hidden message. Till date, they have not been able to decipher it.





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.





ULFA, Bangladesh’s DGFI join hands to wreak havoc

1 11 2008

Sat, Nov 01, 2008 at 17:16

Source: IBNLIVE

Video: IBNLIVE

New Delhi: The serial bomb blasts in four cities of Assam on Thursday point to a new chapter of terror by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

The investigating agencies say that ULFA is being backed by Bangaldesh’s military intelligence wing, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) which has been modelled on Pakistan’s ISI.

Chief of Bangladesh’s Army General Moeen Uddin Ahmed has been at the centre of India’s diplomatic efforts in Bangladesh in the last eight months.

Indian agencies say DGFI’s head till early this month Major General ATM Amin has always been close to ISI. Major General ATM Amin was also instrumental in giving advanced training in bomb making to a new batch of ULFA cadres in Maximhat near Chittagong in from April to June this year.

The camp also trained new boys of other tribal insurgent groups from North-East and West Bengal like the All Tripura Tiger Force and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.

“The ISI and the DGFI are behind these things. Their new strategy is to use the local outfits. They design and plan the entire thing,” GM Srivastav, former ADG (Ops), Assam Police, says.

Indian investigators allege that several separatist militant groups from North-East are flexing their muscle from hideouts in Dhaka.

According to a list given by India to Bangladesh, nearly 100 insurgent camps, hideouts and safe houses of militant groups operating in the North-East are based in Bangladesh.

The document clearly shows that the ULFA leads the pack of separatist groups that operate from Bangladesh. The group also maintains seven active training camps in Bangladesh and its chief Paresh Barua is also hiding there.

“If you look at the history of violence in Assam perpetrated by ULFA from 80s, there have been a number of blasts people have died in large numbers,” Srivastav says.

ULFA’s character is also changing. The group’s armed wings do not recruit only Assamese men anymore. They hire anyone who will carry out their agenda, for a price and their commander-in-chief Paresh Barua insists that the new band of boys don’t discuss political ideology in the training camp.

While insurgency has degenerated into urban terrorism, now the ULFA has gained the eyeballs and attention they have craved for several years.





Assam blasts :New Terror group emerges few more suspects

31 10 2008
Guwahati, Oct 31 (PTI) Little-known Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM) today claimed responsibility for the serial blasts that killed 77 people in Assam and warned of more such attacks.
In an SMS message sent to local ‘News Live’ television channel, the ISF-IM claimed responsibility for yesterday’s blasts and threatened to carry out more bomb explosions in several parts of the country.

The message said, “we thank all our holy members and partners” for successfully carrying out the task.

The SMS was received on the mobile of the channel’s input desk from a Reliance connection with the number 98646-93690.

The mobile phone was subsequently switched off and security forces traced it to Moirabari in Central Assam’s Nagaon district registered in the name of one Nazir Ahmed.

Police officials are investigating the matter.

The outfit was formed in 2000 in Lower Assam’s Bodo-dominated areas “to counter” the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) and NDFB militants, police sources said.

The full text of the SMS is: “We, ISF-IM, take the responsibility of yesterday blast. We warn all of Assam and India for situation like this in future. We thank all our holy members and partners. AAamin.” PTI


Here are some of the main groups suspected to be behind the attacks:
Source: Reuters

* ULFA The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is Assam’s major separatist group that has been fighting since 1979. It accuses New Delhi of plundering the state’s mineral resources and giving back nothing in return. ULFA is often blamed for attacks in Assam, but the group has denied responsibility for the Oct 30 blasts.

* HuJI Harkat-ul-Jehad al Islami (HuJI) is a Bangladeshi militant Islamist group that has often been suspected of attacks on Indian cities. HuJI has been linked to ULFA. Assam has a long-simmering conflict between its indigenous population and Bangladeshi immigrants, many of them illegal. Mainly Hindu tribesmen fear being overrun by Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the state. Indian police say HuJI is also connected to the little-known Indian Mujahideen group, which claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in Indian cities in 2008. HuJI was blamed for the 2004 bombing of a political rally addressed by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and an attack on Bangladeshi born British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury.

* Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) is another Bangladeshi militant Islamist group trying to turn the mainly Muslim country into a sharia state. Members of the group exploded more than 500 bombs across Bangladesh simultaneously in August 2005, killing six people. Some of its top leaders have been hanged but law enforcement agencies say hundreds of militants remain in hiding.

* Lashkar-e-Taiba Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistani militant group which New Delhi says plays a leading role in supporting an insurgency in Indian Kashmir, may not be directly linked with the Assam bombs, but the group has ideological links with HuJI. LeT is also said to train ULFA cadres. New Delhi has accused LeT of involvement in attacks across India in the past. The group, which figures on the U.S. list of terrorist organisations, is officially banned in Pakistan. But India says it still operates there with impunity after changing its name. Indian police say the outfit is also connected to the Indian Mujahideen, a new group which has claimed responsibility for a slew of attacks in India since last year.

(Compiled by Matthias Williams; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Sanjeev Miglani)