While across the border Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Saeed openly dares the United States and ‘moves around like an ordinary man’, India has more to worry about.
An on-the-loose Saeed is nothing but disaster for India. Besides, there are another 3,000 terrorists walking free in Pakistan, waiting to hit India.
Post 26/11, many thought that the Lashkar chief and his outfit would have been kept under check by the Pakistani authorities. However, four years since the bloodbath in Mumbai, nothing seems to have changed.
The latest intelligence dossier on the Lashkar shows that the outfit has grown in strength over the past four years.
Intelligence officials told rediff.com that the LeT began 2012 with a recruitment drive involving 21 women. These women were trained at Muzaffarabad to carry out sabotage activities against the Indian Army. They were recruited into an outfit named Dukhtareen-e-Tayiba, controlled by the Lashkar.
There was specific intelligence about Hafiz Saeed addressing these women at their camp before an attempt was made to sneak them in through the Uri Sector in Kashmir.
Even as the women’s camp took shape, another 400 members were recruited and trained at a camp at Turbeladem in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to carry out subversive activities on Indian soil.
Military Intelligence’s January 2012 report stated that there were 3,500 Lashkar operatives camping in PoK. It also stated that 300 operatives were always on standby.
Intelligence agencies pointed out that the Lashkar was directly involved in the May 30, 2012, attack on a Central Reserve Police Force patrol party in Srinagar. Investigations suggested that the attack was carried out by the Islamic Front, another front for the Lashkar.
Security agencies claim that the Lashkar operates under the banner of smaller fronts to carry out subversive activities against India.
There was more proof to show Lashkar’s active support to the Indian Mujahideen.
The Lashkar had set up five camps -- Bait-ul- Mujahideen, Al Massada, Ibn Taymiyya, Abdullah Bin Masood and Masker Al Aqsa -- at Muzaffarabad only to train IM operatives.
Further recruitments in the Kashmir Valley involved those who took part in the 2010 uprising. The Lashkar has been identifying youths who claim to have been wronged by the Indian agencies. Till date, they have managed to rope in around 70 youths. They have been tasked with providing inputs on the operations of Indian agencies based on which the Lashkar operatives would plan their strikes.
Officers say that such recruitments and camps continue to mushroom with ease.
All new recruits identify with Saeed and his anti-India speeches.
Saeed continues to be a key man for Pakistan, which pushes its Kashmir policy through him. He has been the most faithful amongst the ISI-nurtured terrorists and hence bringing him to justice is asking for too much from the Pakistani establishment, Indian agencies point out.
The bounty that was announced by the US government on Saeed had kept him quiet for sometime, but according to intelligence officials it was more of a warning to him not to hurt US interests.
As long as the ISI manages to keep him away from hurting US interests, he is pretty much safe, an intelligence official points out.
C D Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, points out that Saeed will be managed well by the ISI.
“Every terrorist leader in Pakistan has at least once rubbed the wrong shoulder with the ISI, but that has not been the case with Saeed. There have been several instances in the past where Saeed has been protected. After the Parliament attack, he was immediately placed under house arrest. The same thing happened after the 2006 train blasts. He was once again placed under house arrest for a month. A very similar thing occurred post 26/11 too.”