SIMI operative Abdul Sattar tells investigators how a ban on the outfit led to the formation of the Indian Mujahideen. Vicky Nanjappa reports
The National Investigation Agency on Friday arrested Students Islamic Movement of India operative Abdul Sattar after he was deported from the United Arab Emirates. Charged in a case related to the secret terror camp held in Wagamon, Kerala in 2007, he has been providing information on the resurrection of the banned outfit.
During his interrogation Sattar told the NIA that following a ban on SIMI, several like-minded radical members of the group decided to hit back at the Indian establishment. “The Indian Mujahideen is an offshoot of the SIMI and it was formed during this period when the camp was held in December 2007,” Sattar told interrogators.
The NIA got a tip off on Satar following the questioning of Manzar Imam, Danish Riaz and 36 others, all accused in the Wagamon terror camp case. “This SIMI camp was the what led to the formation of the Indian Mujahideen. Although this group had decided to carry out strikes independently, a section of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba cadre got in touch with them and offered assistance. They then decided to fight Lashkar’s proxy war in India,” said an NIA official.
According to Sttar, 40 members from various parts of the country were part of the camp. They decided to break up into smaller groups and launch an offensive against India. Similar camps were held in Hubli, Karnataka under the leadership of SIMI operative Safdar Nagori.
At the Wagamon camp, a 20-member core team was formed and each operative was assigned a state. The initial plan was to target Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and then set up bases in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Kerala was considered to be an apt place to hold the terror camps. The funds flowing in from the Gulf are accumulated here and the distributed to other parts of the country.
Indian Mujahideen co-founder Abdul Subhan Qureshi participated in the 2007 camp and propagated that “this was not a war but a freedom struggle in India for the Muslims”, the NIA found during its probe.
Through Sattar, the investigators want to further probe if there are plans to carry out more attacks in the future. However, the most crucial part of the investigation would relate to Kerala and how the modules function there.