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313 terrorists ready to strike India, 3000 more waiting

Last updated on: February 26, 2014 15:54 IST

While Indian security agencies keep a close watch on major terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Indian Mujahideen, smaller groups like the JeM are capable of wreaking more havoc, says Vicky Nanjappa

As many as 313 fidayeens, out and about in Pakistan, plan to strike in India during the Lok Sabha elections.

That is the ominous message sent by Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, at a recent rally held in Muzzafarabad, Pakistan, an official of the Intelligence Bureau told Rediff.com.

IB reports had already suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in one of the prime targets of these terrorists.

Maulana Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the 2003 terror attack on Parliament, was one of the terrorists India was forced to release during the Kandahar hostage crisis in 1999.

The Jaish, which has been banned by the United States, is looking for a resurrection in Pakistan.

Masood Azhar is also one of the many anti-India terrorists nurtured by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence.

The ISI is aware of his close links with the Taliban but has chosen to look the other way as long as the terror outfit concentrates its subversive activities in India.

Though the ISI has urged Masood Azhar to focus on fomenting terror in Kashmir, the JeM chief has an evident penchant for launching major terror strikes.

To add to the woes of Indian security agencies, JeM is not the only terror outfit gunning for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Terror outfits like the Babbar Khalsa International, the Khalistan Zindabad Force, the Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba are also concocting terror plans to disrupt the massive exercise.

“We need to watch out for JeM, more than the others, as they are a bunch of loose canons capable of carrying out anything,” said an IB official.

“Masood was lying low till now but he had never disappeared. He is continuously funded by the ISI to carry out his jihad. The only time probably that they had directed Masood to keep a low-profile is when former United States President Bill Clinton visited Islamabad. The agencies must never take their eyes off Masood or the Jaish,” said C D Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing.

While Indian security agencies keep a close watch on major terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Indian Mujahideen, smaller groups like JeM are capable of wreaking more havoc.

But the '313 fidayeens' ready to strike Pakistan is not the scariest number, says the IB officer, adding that a ruthless terrorist like Masood Azhar will have over 3,000 other terrorists willing to die for him.

“He has already proved that he is capable of carrying out a major strike, like the attack on the Indian Parliament. If he manages to execute a terror strike during the Lok Sabha polls, he will be handsomely rewarded by Pakistan,” said the IB official.

The ISI and its acolytes like the JeM want to continue their efforts to destabilise India by targeting certain political leaders and triggering communal riots, he said.

The JeM, which had spilt up into many factions after the attack on Parliament, is being painstakingly assembled again by the ISI.

The Pakistani spy agency, say IB officials, wants another terror group, other than the dangerous LeT, to be perpetually ready and eager to strike terror in India.

Vicky Nanjappa