Who will help us come back strong in India, Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the founder members of the deadly Indian Mujahideen, asked Salman alias Chotu at a meeting at Pakistan a few months before the latter's arrest.
This interrogation report of Salman, who was nabbed while trying to cross over into India through the Nepal border, has the answers to all the Indian Mujahideen's plans including one pertaining to the sourcing of the explosives that were used in the Varanasi blasts.
The conversations between Salman and Bhatkal in Karachi, Pakistan, are proof that the Indian Mujahideen was desperate to strike but was unable to carry out a big operation due to the want of a strong cadre.
After the decimation of the Indian Mujahideen by the Indian security agencies there were plans to revamp the organisation. Salman, a small-time operative who managed to give the police the slip following the Batla House encounter in New Delhi, was eager to carry out attacks in India. However, he was finding it difficult since there was a complete breakdown of the organisation and he thought he needed to meet with the big guns in Pakistan in order to chalk out a strategy.
Salman told the cops that he had managed to give them the slip following the Batla House encounter. There was a lot of anger among the youth in his community following this incident and they wanted to hit back. But they were facing man power and funding problems and so he decided to visit Karachi and meet Bhatkal.
Bhatkal told Salman that his brother Yaseen would be working out a new strategy to carry out attacks in India. "However nothing much can be achieved at the moment since there was a breakdown in the organisation. We can carry out attacks and respond to the Indian agencies, but who will carry out these attacks. We need strong cadres who are capable of planning and executing such attacks," Bhatkal told him.
In addition to this Bhatkal also said that it was difficult to source ammunition in India since security was at an all-time high. To this Salman responded by saying that there are still small quantities of ammunition left behind by those arrested and these could be used to carry out blasts.
The police, who are probing the Varanasi blasts, now say that a fringe group of the outfit has carried out the blasts and the ammunition used were leftovers from arrested IM cadres. They had stocked up IEDs and also a huge quantity of ammonium nitrate which is accessible to these low rung cadres, who are not on the IB's radar and so could slip in and plant the bombs.
The bomb was assembled by a professional but they lacked proper equipment, IB sources say. In addition to this they have also not been able to coordinate the attack properly.
Police sources say that they will need to step up the heat on these fringe elements located mostly in Azamgarh, Old Delhi and Pune.