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Did Bhatkal brothers help dispirited IM plan attacks?

By Vicky Nanjappa
December 01, 2011 13:52 IST
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Of all the homegrown outfits that the Inter-Service Intelligence has created in India, they have found the Indian Mujahideen to be most effective, reports Vicky Nanjappa.  

News of six youngsters of the Indian Mujahideen being arrested for their involvement in three terror attacks - Pune's German Bakery blast, Delhi's Jama Masjid firing before the Commonwealth Games and Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy blasts case has attracted a lot of attention.

While investigations have taken an interesting turn, with a lot of information about IM modules in India coming out, there is still a desperate search on for eight more operatives of the outfit.

The interrogation of alleged IM operative Mohammad Qateel has revealed that the Bhatkal brothers - Riyaz and Iqbal were in Delhi following the Batla House encounter. This is something that the police had missed out completely and their presence had led to a series of incidents.

The IM had found itself down and out after the Batla House encounter. Not only were several of their modules busted, but they also felt that some innocents were killed in the encounter. There was growing discontent after the incident and there was always a danger of some of the cadres going astray.

It had become extremely essential for some of the top cadres to be in Old Delhi to control these cadres. The Bhatkal brothers, who had been hiding in Pakistan, returned to Delhi where they met up with a couple of their cadres in order to lay out a new plan.

During these meetings they wanted to carry out a series of attacks and this is how the three attacks - German Bakery, Jama Masjid and the Chinnaswamy -- were carried out.

Investigators say that all this is making sense now since the IM had the most problems with these three places. With the German Bakery case they wanted to hit back at the Maharashtra police, who had busted several of their modules. The Jama Masjid attack was a pay back for the Batla House encounter and the Chinnaswamy blasts was more to embarrass the Bharatiya Janata Party government.

However, during planning it was found that the IM cadres were in a great deal of hurry to carry out the attacks. Barring the German Bakery blasts, the other two were very mediocre operations. However, this gave the IM cadres a lot of confidence and they did manage to regroup to a large extent.

While these blasts were aimed at revenge, what worked more importantly for the IM was the regrouping of its cadres. They managed to build up a very strong module in Bihar and even started looking towards Tamil Nadu. While moving operations to Tamil Nadu only meant the emergence of a stronger South Indian module, the Bihar module was obviously to have more control in the north.

Of all the homegrown outfits that the Inter-Service Intelligence has created in India, they found the IM to be most effective. They have found that there is a connect between this outfit and several Muslim youth, which makes it very effective. Unlike how they let go off the Students Islamic Movement of India, the ISI was not ready to let go of the IM, which is why it keeps returning despite being busted.

The ISI is ready to go to any lengths to ensure that the IM has all the possible support to keep its operations going. This has been proven with the presence of a man by the name Mohammad Adil, an operative of the Jaish-e-Mohammad. He was in India to set up modules for the JeM, which could work in tandem with the IM so that the outfit became stronger. The two groups had even planned more recruitments in both south and north India.

The Bengaluru police, which is handling the Chinnaswamy case, however, says that they need much more information on the case. The commissioner of police said that they have sent a team to New Delhi.

The police in Bengaluru say that they were aware of such subversive activities and there were sleeper cells set up by Pakistani militants. "However, we need to corroborate more evidence in order to close the case," police sources said.

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