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Bihar, Indian Mujahideen's new playground

Last updated on: December 6, 2011 11:45 IST

Bihar, Indian Mujahideen's new playground

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Vicky Nanjappa

The recent arrest of Indian Mujahideen operatives in Bihar has confirmed the suspicions of the Indian intelligence agencies that the dreaded terror outfit was trying to set up a base in the state.

Bihar has all that is required to turn it into one of the biggest hubs for all sorts of notorious activities. Although there have been reports in the past regarding a build-up of the Indian Mujahideen in the state, it is only now that the police are taking this threat seriously.

Bihar, according to intelligence reports, acted more as a transit point all these years, but today it has become a recruitment hub.

There are at least 11 active modules of the outfit operating in Bihar. Areas like Araria, Madhubani and Sitamarhi are considered to be the top hubs for terror recruits. Although it is hard to put a figure on the number of recruitments that have taken place in these areas, sources in police say that the number is quite substantial.

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Earlier, there was a lot of emphasis on areas such as Old Delhi and Azamgarh. But today it appears that terror operations in those areas have come down a great deal. It was obvious that they would shift their area of operation.

A state like Bihar has always been a happy hunting ground for almost all kinds of illegal activity. Take the Kishanganj district for instance. It has been notorious for illegal immigration and there is very little that the government has been able to do to stall this problem.

There is a constant influx of people into these areas, which make it easier for terrorists in particular to get in and out after every operation. This is probably one of the reasons why there is such a mystery surrounding the Varanasi blasts, as it is believed that the foot soldiers could have slipped out thanks to the uncontrollable illegal immigration.

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Another interesting aspect, which would need to be looked into here, is that all recruitments that have been made for the recent blasts have been from Bihar.

With nearly 20 million illegal immigrants in India -- most of whom are in Bihar and West Bengal -- the task ahead appears to be extremely tough. There are only a handful of ideological terrorists in these modules while the rest of them have been recruited for money. This would mean that they carry out the operation and then slip out, thus leaving no trail.

Riyazul Sarkar, who was picked up on for his alleged role in the July 13 blasts in Mumbai, told interrogators that he belonged to Kishanganj, which is a hub for illegal immigration. Investigations have found that the main transit point has been a place called Purnea, which shares a border with West Bengal (another state notorious for illegal immigration).

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Not only does it bring in the illegal immigrants, but has also become a major transit point to smuggle arms and drugs. The fact that Nepal too is around the corner has made matters only worse.

The Bihar operation has been two fold for the Indian Mujahideen. Not only have they tapped persons who are in want of money, but they also targeted the educated youth.

 

Riyaz Bhatkal, who also goes by the name Shahrukh, has tapped this state extensively. All recent recruitments have been attributed to him and the manner in which he has gone about picking up youth with such ease has attracted the attention of other terror groups as well. Today, the police say that apart from the IM, one could find cadres of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and also the Harkat-ul-Jihadi in the state.

The IB says that Bihar will continue to be a landing point for these terror groups. Not only are they getting their recruitments done with ease, but have also been able to transport and also stock up arms and ammunition.

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