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'Invading India and spreading Islam is Anjuman's mission'
'Christians worship kneeling, Hindus prostrating, Parsis standing and Buddhists sitting. But namaaz, the posture the Muslims use to pray, is the truly composite form of worship encompassing all other religious postures. Only namaaz can lead one to salvation.'
Awanul-Nas does not just tell you about prayer postures. It goes on to exhort Muslims in India to work for the welfare of Pakistan. And then pours vitriol on Hinduism: 'There is only one Shiva temple and that is in Mecca.'
Strangely, in the past seven decades little has come to light about the activities of this Sufi sect, which preaches that Islam is a mixture of local cultures, religions and traditions. All these years, neither any central intelligence agency nor the state police bothered to investigate the Anjuman's activities, which basically instigated communal hatred and secessionism.
But after two months of investigation into the 13 bomb blasts in various churches in Andhra Pradesh Goa and Karnataka, the Union home ministry and the central and state intelligence agencies have sat up to take notice of the Anjuman. Here is one obscure Islamic sect that is remote-controlled from Pakistan. Here is one Islamic fundamentalist group whose followers are engaged in forcible conversion by preaching secession.
The seriousness of Anjuman activities became clear when Union Home Minister L K Advani announced in Parliament on August 3 that the government planned to ban the religious sect shortly. His ministry, he said, was waiting for 'concrete and reliable proof' linking the Anjuman with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.
"We have definite proof which suggest that the activities of the group were part of a larger ISI conspiracy to spread terror in the southern Indian states," says senior intelligence officer in Bangalore.
THE police stumbled on the Anjuman by accident. On July 9, Bangalore sleuths picked up inflammatory pamphlets from a Maruti van that exploded an hour after a bomb went off in the St Peter's church. Two of the van's occupants -- Siddiqui and Zaki -- died immediately, while the third, S M Ibrahim, survived to unravel the murky world he belonged to.
"Simply put, invading and capturing India and spreading Islam here is the core mission of the Anjuman. The bomb blasts in churches were to create panic, disturbances and communal dissension in the country," Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police H J Dora told rediff.com
He said the police have now unearthed clinching proof that the blasts in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were masterminded by Anjuman head Zia-ul-Hassan, who is based in Pakistan.
According to the police, Hassan, a son of Siddiqui, now operates from Peshawar. The intelligence dossier on Hassan, currently the Anjuman's spiritual head, says his plan is to create communal hatred in India.
The apparent logic is to discredit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government. The Anjuman claims the BJP, a Hindu-leaning party, has no right to govern India, which it says will be made a Muslim country.
Police officials probing Anjuman activities say Hassan masterminded the blasts with the ISI's backing. "It was a different kind of strategy from the ISI," says B N Nagaraj, joint commissioner of police, Bangalore.
Nagaraj said the aim was to create confusion and commotion. "That is why they even planted gelatin sticks outside a mosque in Guntur," he told rediff.com
THE police believe Hassan and his family members are ISI agents. They allege Hassan deployed his son Zahid Pasha to carry out the blasts. Pasha, who used to visit India frequently under different names, was present in the country when the first bomb went off at a Christian congregation in Machhilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Pasha was allegedly helped by Zaleel Chowdhary, Hassan's son-in-law, and Kaliq-ul-Zaman, Anjuman's head in Andhra Pradesh. Ibrahim, Siddiqui and Zaki were the others involved.
The police have recovered circuits, batteries, fuse-wires, gelatin sticks, religious literature and photographs from many Anjuman followers.
These days, special police squads of the Karnataka police check the Muslim population in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli. Though the Union home ministry had identified Gulbarga as a major ISI hideout when Pakistani agents took shelter there after the explosions aboard the AP Express and the Madina Education Centre two years ago, the police never knew that Anjuman members were involved.
Police sources said extensive raids and searches on the houses of many Anjuman members revealed that at least a hundred of them travelled to Pakistan in the last few years to receive arms training from the ISI. They then fanned out to villages in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where the Anjuman today commands a following of nearly 12,000 adherents.
The main villages and towns where the outfit operates are Nuzvid, Atmakur, Kurukunda, Palem, Vijayawada, Khammam and Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh, Batakurki, Ramdurg and Hubli in Karnataka. Forcing poor Hindu villagers to convert to Islam was their main religious agenda, which they have been successfully carrying out in these villages.
Initial reports with the police revealed that at least a thousand Hindus have become Anjuman followers since 1992. "Their modus operandi is to provide money to the poor Hindus to convert," says an intelligence officer.
Investigating teams in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are currently compiling a list of Anjuman activists who have been acting as the ISI's liaison men.
While local Muslims across Anjuman-infested villages of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka hate the sect thanks to its blend of Islam and Hinduism, followers of the Sufi order lament they are innocents and are being prosecuted by the police for no mistake of theirs.
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