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Is Lashkar training women for suicide bombings in India?

Last updated on: January 4, 2012 15:02 IST

Is Lashkar training women for suicide bombings in India?

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Vicky Nanjappa

According to a military intelligence report, it appears that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba is readying itself to carry out an all-women attack in India. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

The first time news regarding the creation of a full-fledged women's wing to carry out attacks on India came out was during the interrogation of LeT operative, Riazuddin Nazir.

On Tuesday, Indian military intelligence officials put out a report which suggested that the Lashkar was training 12 women to carry out terror strikes in India. The Hadees (word of the Prophet) makes it very clear that women cannot be used for warfare for various reasons, because they are the weaker sex and their general job would be household work.

However, the Lashkar does not mind using women for terror attacks as it believes that women could provide an element of surprise during an attack.

Keeping that in mind, intelligence agencies in India have their eyes fixed on organisations such as the Duktharam-e-Millath and the Daur-e-Sofa. While the DeM has only shown signs of religious extremism, the DeS has shown signs of having dedicated training camps for women to undertake terror operations.

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The concept of a women's wing has been mooted way back in the year 2008 by mainstream terror outfits. The DeS is a concept mooted by the Lashkar, while the Shaheen force, was an all-women team under the ambit of the Indian Mujahideen.

These wings were originally created to spread religious sentiments witnessed an aggressive change in the past couple of years. The DeM, for instance, turned into a moral policing outfit.

There were incidents where women from this outfit went to colleges and other public places and were found beating up women who were not following Islamic rules. The Shaheen force on the other hand stuck to the job of influencing youngsters to take up the cause of Islam.

However, there was a change post the police crackdown on the Indian Mujhaideen. There were many incidents which caused heartburn among a particular set of the community. The arrests after the 2007 Mecca Masjid case and the firing was a turning point.

Riazzuddin Nazir who originally hails from Hyderabad was arrested and lodged in a Karnataka jail. According to the police, he had trained with the Lashkar, and during his interrogation he had spoken about how the outfit was training women under the banner of the DeS.

He said that women in the age group of 19-23 were being trained for terror strikes. As per the revelations of Khalida Akthar, a Lashkar operative nabbed by the Indian forces, the DeS was being provided training by a woman, Umi Hammad, who is the chief of the Lashkar's women's wing.

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She had also said that each of the women who are picked are made to undergo a rigorous three-month camp before they are asked to lie low following which they would be intimated when the need arises.

That was three years ago.

"They would be tested in the Valley before they are roped in for operations in other parts of the country," said an official.

Would terror strikes by women mean gun trotting terrorists? That is not likely, although there are intercepts suggesting that women have been trained in gun battle as well. The more likely use of women in terror strikes would be as cover operations and suicide bombers.

It is not only the Lashkar that has a women's wing. In fact, the Al Qaeda too had a similar wing, but they have been selective about it. They used women to carry out surveys of possible targets, since the cops would be less suspicious of them. Lashkar could be doing the same, Indian security agencies believe.


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