ISI funding insurgency in North East, says ex-ISI chief
Bangladesh is a hot destination for the ISI in its attempt to wage a full-fledged battle against India, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
Pakistan's former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Assad Durani has made a startling before the Pakistan Supreme Court. Durani told the court that the Pakistan spy agency had been meddling with India's affairs in the North East.
India has been claiming what the former ISI chief has stated since a very long time. India has also said that the operations in the North East, which have several instances of insurgencies, are all being funded by the ISI. The Harkat-ul-Jihadi in particular has been causing a great deal of trouble in both the North Eastern states. According to Durrani, the ISI had paid Rs 50 crore to former prime minister Khaleeda Zia during the 1991 elections.
The nexus between the ISI and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence in Bangladesh is not new. The Indian intelligence had termed the DGFI as the cousin of the ISI which works with the Jamait-e-Islami, which used to be a political ally of the BNP government that Durrani claims to have funded. During the last ten years, according to Intelligence Bureau sources, nearly 9,000 trained jihadis from various countries like Pakistan and the Middle East were sent to Bangladesh from where they were to launch operations against India and other western countries.
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Image: File photo shows an anti-insurgency unit in action
'Activities against India in Bangladesh on the rise'
The DGFI in partnership even brought in the Al Qaeda in the earlier half and later went on to create the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, which is the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The two agencies had very often worked hand in hand when it came to destabilising India. The North Eastern states have reeled under insurgency for quite some time and the ISI through the DGFI has been quick to support such groups in carrying out subversive activities against India.
Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that over the past couple of years, especially between 2004 and 2006, activities against India in Bangladesh have been particularly high. It has become a preferred border for terror groups when compared to the border on Pakistan. Look at even the recent spate of arrests like that of terrorist T Nasir and the rest of the Indian Mujahideen operatives. Each one had a Bangladesh connection and all of them spoke about the ease with which they crossed over into India.
The busting of the Bihar module is also another example of how elements in Bangladesh are working against the country. The ISI is well aware of the illegal immigrant problem in India, especially in the North East, Bihar and West Bengal, and they have used this problem to their advantage.
However, the ISI has used Bangladesh in creating problems in the North East. Many say that the problem in the North East is immense but has never received much focus due to the magnitude of the problem India faces in Kashmir and other parts of the country.
In Assam there are 36 terror groups that operate under various names. The United Liberation Front of Asom, National Democratic Front of Bodoland, United Peoples Democratic Solidarity, Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, Bodo Liberation Tiger Force, Dima Halam Daogah , Karbi National Volunteers , Rabha National Security Force , Koch-Rajbongshi Liberation Organisation , KPF, BTF, ASF, Revolutionary Muslim Commandos, Muslim Tiger Force, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, HuJI among others are the major terror networks that operate in Assam.
In Manipur there are 39 active terror groups in all which include the United National Liberation Front , People's Liberation Army Northeast, Kangleipak Communist Party, Islamic National Front, Islamic Revolutionary Front (IRF) among others.
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Image: File photo shows Bangladeshi rebels undergoing training
'ISI funded Rs 50 cr to B'desh for activities against India'
Meghalaya and Nagaland have six terror groups in all which are the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), People's Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M) National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – NSCN(IM) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have 33 terror groups in all which are the NLFT, Tripura Tribal Volunteer Force (TTVF), All Tripura Liberation Organisation (ATLO) and Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF) among others.
In the last six years 1,542 civilians have died in terror strikes. In the year 2006 there were 232 deaths while in 2007 and 2008 the death count due to terror strikes was 457 and 404 respectively. The years 2009, 2010 and 2011 saw 270, 77 and 80 deaths respectively. The year 2012 has seen 22 civilian deaths so far.
Although Durrani claimed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the ISI had funded Rs 50 crore to Bangladesh to carry out subversive activities against India, the Indian intelligence feels that the amount could have easily surpassed Rs 300 crore by now. Bangladesh is a hot destination for the ISI in its attemptto wage a full fledged battle against India. They would want the whole of North East to remain unstable so that they have more control over India. Most of the terror strikes in the North East are carried out by homegrown elements and this actually serves ISI's purpose, as infighting is something that causes more unstability than an external attack.
While this is one part of the problem the other issue is the emergence of a terror group known as the HuJI which has managed to spread its tentacles into India, especially down south. There was a spate of attacks witnessed, especially in Bangalore and Hyderabad, which was primarily the job of the HuJI. It is being managed well says the IB and the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has managed to create a solid base in India thanks to ISI funding.