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SIMI's next target: Goa

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | July 01, 2008 09:48 IST

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The Students Islamic Movement of India, which had made Karnataka its base to conduct and assist in terror acts across India, has decided to shifts its operations to Goa [Images], it is learnt.

Intelligence Bureau sources said the recent regime change in Karnataka, with the Bharatiya Janata Party elected to power, has made the banned outfit shift out of the state.

Mohammad Asif [Images], a SIMI operative who was arrested recently in Karnataka, revealed during his narco analysis test that the outfit had decided to shift out of the state if the BJP came to power. Joining the dots based on the confessions by various suspected militants, the IB has come to the conclusion that Goa would be the next hub for SIMI.

Riazuddin Nasir, another SIMI operative arrested in Karnataka, had also confessed that Goa was on their agenda and the outlawed organisation had planned to carry out a series of attacks in the tourist state.

An IB official told that communication intercepts also revealed that SIMI was now setting up base in Goa. This IB official said at least 60 per cent of SIMI's operations have already been shifted to Goa.

According to the IB, the motive behind moving to Goa was twofold. First, an attack on Goa would get SIMI worldwide attention thanks to the foreign tourist presence there. Second, security in Goa is not up to the mark lest it act as a deterrent for tourism which is one of the state's primary sources of income.

A senior police officer in Goa told that SIMI was in constant touch with certain Naxalite outfits and had sought their help in setting up base there.

A police officer in Karnataka said this move does not mean that their job will become easier. SIMI's plans to carry out attacks in Karnataka are still on, and they need to keep a constant watch on its movements, he added.

In Goa SIMI plans to conduct training programmes for its cadres, launch recruitment drives and, over a period of time, smuggle in arms and ammunition as was being done in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Last week, Manohar Parrikar [Images], leader of the Opposition in the Goa assembly anf former chief minister, said the state may become unsafe if the government did not act quickly against SIMI.

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