Indian Mujahideen, the home-grown and dreaded terror outfit, may have provided a disturbing and dangerous ideology for several young men across India, fear security agencies.
While the IM recruits nearly 300 men every year, not all of them are actively involved in carrying out terror strikes. Some of them help in propagating the ideology of the outfit.
The Delhi police had recently busted a module of the Indian Mujahideen and helped in cracking the Pune blasts case. While interrogating the operatives of the module, the police found that there had been no slowdown in the recruitment process and most of the youth continue to subscribe to the ideology of the outfit.
The IM has come a full cycle, points out an official of the Intelligence Bureau. The terror group started as an offshoot of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India by assembling a group of disgruntled men who were seeking revenge against the Indian government.
The IM was forced to go underground after a major crackdown by the police. While cobbling together the group again, IM leaders found it difficult to recruit youth who were willing to carry out such risky operations only on the basis of ideology. So it had to rely on men who did their dirty work in exchange of money.
Once the intense heat on the outfit wore off, IM leaders decided to focus only on impressionable young men who believed in their ideology. They even used social media to find new recruits.
The IM soon managed to induct a group of men dedicated to their ideology, which meant they were tougher to 'break' during interrogations, according to an official of the Delhi police.
"During our investigations and questioning of the three people arrested in connection with the Pune blasts, we realised that there are many more like them in the network. Each one of them is working for a cause and not for the money. The IM has divided its operations with much care and only those who feel strongly about the cause are involved directly in the operation. There are people who arrange the money, like hawala dealers or businessman who transfer funds for them," said the official.
Officials of the National Investigation Agency, who are looking into the functioning of the IM, say that the path ahead is extremely tough. Other than the youth who subscribe to the ideology, the IM also has many sympathisers who only make the task of cracking down on the outfit tougher.
"Most of the people who were found to be involved with the IM are educated youth, they were neither working for money nor for favours. They have decided to join the cause only because they believe in its ideology," said the official.
During the interrogation of the three arrested men -- Asad, Imran and Feroze -- it was revealed that they had no intention of making money from terror operations. They believed that their community had been wronged and the only way to fight back was to join the Indian Mujahideen. As they believed that that their biggest enemy was the Indian police force, which had allegedly booked several false cases, they wanted to carry out attacks that would embarrass the force.
Police teams across India have realised that mere investigations and arrests will not deter the youth from gravitating towards the IM. They have started to involve elder members of the community who will be able to advise the youth against falling prey to the IM's ideology.