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North Karnataka emerges as terror hub

Vicky Nanjappa in Bijapur | August 20, 2008 15:34 IST

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North Karnataka has emerged as the hotbed for terror activity, according to intelligence sources.

The recent operation by the Gujarat and Karnataka police in which two doctors were picked up in Bijapur is only an indication that northern Karnataka is looked upon as a safe haven by terror groups. Dr Ali, a dentist was picked up along with Dr Pathan from Bijapur on Sunday in connection with the serial blasts in Ahmedabad. Although nothing concrete has emerged about the two men, the Intelligence Bureau maintains that Dr Ali played a key role in providing logistic support to the Students Islamic Movement of India during the Ahmedabad [Images] blasts. Dr Ali, originally a resident of Mumbai, was staying in Dr Pathan's house on Jamia Mosque road, from where he was picked up. Dr Pathan was taken into custody by the Gujarat police for providing shelter to Dr Ali.

IB officials told that there is a huge SIMI [Images] presence in northern Karnataka, and it has emerged as the most preferred destination after Hyderabad. After the heat was stepped in Hyderabad following blasts there, SIMI gradually moved into northern Karnataka.

The IB identifies Hubli-Dharward and Bijapur as key destinations for SIMI. A majority of the sleeper cells in Karnataka are in this region, they add. A police official said these areas have huge populations of Muslim migrants, mainly from Kashmir, Bangladesh, Uttar Pradesh [Images] and Bihar. While it is unfair to generalise that all migrants are into terrorism, the IB says that several youth have been brainwashed into taking up jihad. Since 2006, recruitment in these areas has been high. Police suspect that nearly 700 youth may have been recruited into SIMI from north Karnataka alone.

North Karnataka has been a preferred hub for terrorist for many years now. The arrest of Dr Jalees Ansari, a medical practioneer from Gulbarga was among the first arrests here. He was charged with involvement in the Mumbai serial train blasts. Apart from this, SIMI activists, Adnan, Allah Baksh, Riazuddin Nasir, Mohammad Asif [Images] and Assadullah Abubucker were all picked up north Karnataka towards the end of 2007.

The revealations made by each of them is not only startling, but also an indication as how they had set up their network in north Karnataka. These men also revealed that terror training camps had been set up in the forests of north Karnataka.

North Karnataka also played host to the crucial meeting termed as the Castle Rock meeting in Hubli. SIMI activist Riazuddin Nasir during his narco analysis test mentioned that attacks were being planned in various parts of the country and they had all met at Hubli to discuss this. He also said that 16 bombs had been made in Hubli and taken to various parts of the country. At that time, investigating agencies had rubbished this claim stating that he was trying to divert attention.

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