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LeT hunts for new jihadis in Indian prisons

Last updated on: May 10, 2012 09:38 IST

LeT hunts for new jihadis in Indian prisons

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The arrest of alleged terrorist Abdul Rehman has raised some crucial questions about the actual level of security and monitoring in Indian prisons, says Vicky Nanjappa

Abdul Rehman, an alleged terror operative from Bengaluru, was recruited by a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative while he was lodged in the city jail in connection with an arms smuggling case.

A remand application filed by the Bengaluru police to seek custody of Abdul Rehman, a resident of the city's Chamrajpet area, revealed this worrying piece of information.

The application further stated that Rehman came in contact with Fahad, a terrorist with links to the Lashkar, while he was in the Bengaluru jail. After being brainwashed for nearly four months, Rehman adopted the ideology of the LeT and carried out a series of blasts and assassinations.

During his stint in jail, Rehman was also given jihadi literature to study. He even spoke to a few handlers of the Lashkar in Pakistan.

This revelation raises some very crucial questions. How did Fahad manage to smuggle in jihadi material inside the jail? And how did Rehman have access to a cell phone to call LeT handlers in Pakistan?

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Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters

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All calls to Pakistan are scrutinised by the Intelligence Bureau. A man from Bijapur, Karnataka, who had given a missed call to the cell phone of Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, was tracked down in no time.

Then how did Rehman manage to make so many calls to Pakistan, that too while he was in jail? Prisons use jammers to prevent the inmates from using cell phones.

The third question that needs to be answered is how Rehman, who was in the general section of the prison, come in contact with Fahad, who was on under terror charges?

Terrorists are usually kept in separate cells and are not allowed to mingle with the rest of the prisoners.

Rehman was arrested a couple of months ago for supplying arms to a local gangster. Fahad has been lodged in Bengaluru jail since 2008.

According to the police, after he was released at the end of his sentence, Rehman continued to keep in touch with his handlers in Pakistan.

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Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

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Jail authorities in Bengaluru, when contacted, claimed they had no knowledge of these developments.

When queried as to why Fahad had suddenly been shifted out of Bengaluru jail to a prison in Dharwad, Karnataka, they said that it was due to an alert by the IB.

It may be recalled that a hue and cry had ensued when the Kerala government had found out that similar calls were being made from jails in the state. As part of that investigation, a team from the IB had visited the Bengaluru jail.

Although details of the probe have not been publicly revealed, sources suggest that Pakistani terrorists had made calls to their relatives while in jail. The investigation is yet to be completed.

Rehman's case raises serious questions about the level of security and monitoring going on in Indian jails.

According to the police, Rehman is a big catch and they need time to interrogate him to get more details regarding his operation. Rehman had major plans to strike terror, they claim, adding that had they have curbed a terror threat by apprehending him.

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Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Tags: Rehman , Fahad , Bengaluru , IB

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