Following the elimination of the LTTE, Pakistan-based terror groups are leaving no stone unturned to take advantage of the vacuum, and slowly recruiting youth from South India for terror activities. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
A man dealing in footwear shuttled between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. He visited Chennai more than eight times in the past two years under the garb of exporting shoes, but when he was finally arrested it was found that he was a Sri Lankan national from Kandy working for the Pakistan high commission in Colombo with the intention of recruiting terrorists from South India.
The Sri Lankan national, Zaheer Hussain, 37, is said to be part of a terror network in Pakistan and had been tasked by the Inter Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency, a couple of years back to carry out recruitment in both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.
He was in touch with an officer in the high commission at Colombo and was taking instructions from him, sources in the Intelligence Bureau informed.
Hussain, a resident of Kandy, is said to have made several visits to Tamil Nadu during the past two years to recruit youth. According to investigations, he was also focusing on other areas in South India.
During his interrogation he gave out some interesting details about how the Pakistan high commission in Sri Lanka had become an important part of this network. He said he was reporting to one officer who was giving him instructions. He also pointed out that a dedicated module was being set up to carry out terror activities in South India.
“There is already a dedicated smuggling route which has been set up by other countries such as China which connects to Tamil Nadu and Kerala via Sri Lanka. The Pakistan agencies sought to use the same route to carry out their activities”, he reportedly told his interrogators.
In addition to recruiting terror operatives from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Hussain said there was a network to pump fake currency into South India.
“I have a lot of contacts in Chennai and they have been helping me with my work,” he told the intelligence agencies in India.
Hussain, who has been charged with conspiracy, is lodged at the Puzhal Central Jail in Chennai.
Sources in Intelligence Bureau told Rediff.com that Hussain was a major catch and it goes to show how closely the establishment of Pakistan has been working against India. Intelligence agencies and the law enforcement officers need to look at Tamil Nadu with more seriousness.
“Setting up a network in Sri Lanka is more feasible for them. There is a vast sea route which they tend to use and monitoring this has always been a tough job. Pakistan-based groups have managed to set up dedicated networks up north and they are looking to do the same in the south as well,” an officer told Rediff.com.
“These groups are not just restricted to laying out the terror network in South India but are also involved in the smuggling of arms and ammunition with the help of some Chinese operatives,” the officer added.
Officials in the Q branch of Tamil Nadu police had found that there was a great deal of arms smuggling that was going on between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. Some Chinese groups with political links in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka were carrying this out, the Q branch had found.
For Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu can become a happy hunting ground if the issue is not taken care of, as there is a vacuum created following the fall of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
“The battle against the LTTE has not gone down too well with several persons, and people like Hussain will look to target such people,” an official said.
Image: Fishermen carry a box filled with fishes at a harbour in Chennai.