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NIA to probe Manzar Imam's role in Kerala terror camp

By Vicky Nanjappa
March 05, 2013 14:52 IST
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Terror suspect Manzar Imam Mohammad is said to have been involved in setting up training camps for the banned Students Islamic Movement of India. Vicky Nanjappa reports

Terror suspect Manzar Imam Mohammad, who was picked up from Ranchi, will be taken on a transit warrant to Kochi in Kerala by the National Investigation Agency, which hopes to bust the Vagamon terror training camp case. Although his role in the Hyderabad blasts case will be probed, the NIA expects more information on the manner in which he set up camps in Kerala for the Students Islamic Movement of India.

A resident of Ranchi in Jharkhand, Manzar Imam carried a reward of Rs 20,000 on his head. The NIA says he was instrumental in setting up a camp of the SIMI in Vagamon, Mundakayam under the Kottayam police station limit. Imam, along with several other cadres of SIMI, trained in target practice, making explosives and also rough terrain driving at the camp. He was part of the camp since 2007.

Imam is said to have connections with top cadres of the breakaway faction of the SIMI, which is active in Kerala. His role in the Indian Mujahideen or the Hyderabad blasts is not yet known. The NIA will probe his links, but there is nothing as yet to suggest that he is directly linked to the Dilsukhnagar blasts.

Imam has had a greater association with Kerala as compared to his hometown in Ranchi. The Vagamon training camp of the SIMI had created quite a stir, as it is said to have led to the creation of several cadres spread across the country.

The NIA bust the Vagamon training camp with the arrest of Danish Saif Riaz, a resident of Ahmedabad. Investigations revealed that about 30 persons had taken part in the camp to receive extensive training to wage war against the state. Out of the 30, only four were from Kerala.

It was alleged that the camp was organised by a person called A Shaduli from Erattupetta, in Kottayam district and the locals he roped in for the programme were Peediyekkal Shibily, Muhammed Ansar Nadvi and Abdul Sathar. Once the programme was fixed, 26 persons of SIMI from various parts of the country were sent in to take part in the camp.

The camp, which focused on arms training, did not catch the eye of the investigators, as it was organised under the banner of a local organisation with the title ‘Role of Muslims in the Freedom Struggle’. During the investigation it was found that even Abdus Subhan Quureshi, an expert bomb maker for the IM, was part of the camp. Qureshi was an editor of a SIMI magazine before a part of the outfit decided to turn radical.

Trainees at the camp included nine persons from Gujarat, four from Kerala, five from Madhya Pradesh, nine from Karnataka and one person each from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Manzar Imam, who was arrested on Monday, will help the NIA get more details about the December 2007 camp and other similar camps, the NIA said.

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