Mumbai recovers from the unprecedented onslaught of terror and Pakistani
involvement in the same is proved beyond doubt, investigators are wondering
whether there was some local involvement. There are clues to show that the
Mumbai attacks might have been planned with the help of local contacts, probably
members of the local mafia, to store arms, ammunition and explosives at
different locations, as was done during the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. These
locals might have worked as facilitators and allowed the terrorists to enhance
the magnitude of damage they could inflict.
Uttar Pradesh police had arrested Faheem Ahmed Ansari and Sabahuddin, two
Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, in connection with the attack on the Central Reserve
Police Force camp in Rampur earlier this year. Ansari, a native of Mumbai, told
the authorities that he had scouted targets in Mumbai for another Lashkar-e-Taiba
plot, which was foiled when he and five co-conspirators were captured after
the Rampur attack. He also told the police in Uttar Pradesh that he had been
in contact with two Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders, Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and a man
known alternately as Yusuf or Muzammil. The police believe that these two men
also directed the Mumbai attacks.
recovery of a handmade map of targets in Mumbai from Faheem Ansari has
raised the suspicion that terrorists like him might have helped the LeT with
information required for this operation, which they had been planning for the
past year. During interrogations, Ansari had reportedly confessed to providing
sketches and videos of key targets in Mumbai to the LeT. He also revealed that
after receiving training from LeT commanders, he did a reconnaissance of the
likely terror targets in Mumbai. Sabahuddin, another key LeT operative, is believed
to have raised funds for the LeT, which could have been used to carry out the
Mumbai terror attack.
threat posed by terrorism to India's national security is intensifying because
of the involvement of these local elements. The Students Islamic Movement of
India (SIMI) is now operating all over India through its fifty fronts. 23 of
them are active in Kerala. Jihadis from Kerala have recently been found waging
war against the Indian state even in Kashmir. A large number of Jihadi modules
now exist all over the country.
the serial blasts in Delhi, most of the arrestees were found to be natives of a
particular district in Uttar Pradesh. The ISI has been working overtime
to develop its network in India, and in this case, it seems to have succeeded.
The modules created by the ISI can create terror whenever they want. This capacity
has been displayed in the several serial blasts in which locals have been found
to be involved.
The ISI and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh (DGFI)
also have complete control over many separatist groups, which are involved in
terrorist activities in India's northeastern states. The situation has now come
to such a pass, that the ISI and DGFI can create havoc without actually involving
Islamist groups, but still achieving the same objectives. This was recently
seen in the case of the serial blasts in Assam, which took place on 30 October.
The same control can also mislead investigations. In the Assam blasts, most
of the suspects arrested were from one of the outlawed groups in the Northeast,
the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
groups were acting at the instance of ISI and DGFI because their top leaders
are based in Bangladesh. Whenever India tries to exert pressure on Bangladesh
these leaders often move to places like Pakistan, Bangkok and other Southeast
Asian countries, with the connivance of Bangladeshi authorities. An instructive
case in point being that off Paresh Barua of the ULFA, who moved to Bangkok
on a Bangladeshi passport sometime ago, when the Indian government demanded
that Bangladesh hand him over to Indian authorities.
cadres of these groups undergo training in Bangladesh in the camps of Islamist
groups, especially Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HUJI). Their top leaders are unable
to turn down the requests of the ISI and DGFI to indulge in terror activities,
whenever such services are demanded from them.
The terror scene in India has become complex in the past couple of years. The
Indian security forces have managed to weaken some of these terrorist groups
through their operations. But in recent times, several terror groups have started
acting in collaboration with each other. They have also created sleeper cells
in different parts of the country. They are taking different land routes from
Bangladesh and Nepal to infiltrate India. In the case of the Mumbai attack,
the sea route was used very effectively. This has strengthened their striking
power and often misleads investigations regarding the same. The coming together
of Jihadi, terrorists and insurgent groups has increased the challenge to the
Indian state. The need of the hour is to identify the emerging trends in Jihadi
terror and meet the challenge accordingly.