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2) Shahid Bilal

June 24, 2008
Most names in this list figured in the list of 20 names that India handed over to Pakistan, asking Islamabad to extradite them. The top two names, however, are synonymous with terror as we know it today.

Terrorism in India has undergone a change since the time India handed over that list. The focus shifting from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Bangladesh, cities outside the earlier strike zones of Delhi and Mumbai -- Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Varanasi, Ajmer -- being targeted and smaller modules working with clockwork precision -- all these marked terrorism in the mid-2000s. If one is to put a face to this changed nature of terrorism in India it would be Shahid Bilal.

The man has become something of an enigma for intelligence agencies. It is said he was killed in Karachi in August 2007. But there still are many who believe he is still alive, most important of those who believe Bilal is alive is his brother.

Bilal was born and brought up in Moosarambagh in Hyderabad's old city, which is believed to be the area where the activities of the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islamia began in India. This is also the area from where most of those who were picked up for the twin blasts in the city came from.

Intelligence Bureau says that in September 2002, 14 youth along with Shahid set out to train in Pakistan. Shahid, now 27, graduated from the Asafiya College in Hyderabad following which he developed links with HuJI. The IB dossier says that although Shahid trained with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in Pakistan, he turned to HuJI, founded by Mufti Abdul Hannan, for support in his operations.

Shahid, it is learnt, is an expert in bomb making and due to his impressive organising skills, he was promoted to the rank of commander at a very early age. The last time he was in India was in April 2005.

Image: Security personnel stand near the wreckage of a car at one of the blast sites in Jaipur.
Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: If he is a terrorist, kill him: Shahid's father
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