January 2002 News

Kashmiri militants find a haven in LSE

27 January 2002
The Times of India

LONDON: The London School of Economics (LSE) has nurtured at least three men linked to al-Qaeda with a clear anti-Indian agenda, according to intelligence information reportedly being studied by the British police. Two of the men are linked to Kashmiri militancy and are at large, while the third was arrested in Delhi last month for alleged involvement in the December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament. The LSE connection, which has been dubbed the London School of Extremists link, was forged in the early ‘90s. It is thought the link could yield yet more crucial and sensitive information about UK-based Islamist radicals who offered deadly help to the Kashmir cause by taking to a life of militancy.The most prominent of the so-called LSE three is the middle-class, intellectual militant from London, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who was released by the Indian government in the Indian Airlines Kandahar hostage swap in 1999. He is now said to be linked to last week’s shooting outside Kolkata’s United States Information Service centre and is alleged to have been part of the financial trail leading to the chief World Trade Centre hijacker Mohammed Atta.According to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Sheikh’s unnamed Kashmir-sympathising fellow LSE student played an equally important role in fuelling militancy in Kashmir by functioning as a key recruiting agent for the militant groups in 1992.The paper inaccurately names Jaish-e Mohammed as the main grouping supported by the LSE’s radical Islamists, but according to sources, Jaish was not in existence at the time. The LSE campus is more likely to have supplied Harkat-ul Ansar or even Al Faran, the deadly decapitators of some foreign tourists in the mid-90s.The revelations about the LSE come as two South Asian British men are confirmed as al-Qaeda’s - hardest of the hard-fighters incarcerated at Camp X-Ray, the American detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The two men, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul, belonged to an impoverished English town in the West Midlands area, where the mainly-Pakistani minority community lives in mutual fear and loathing alongside the white host community. According to media reports, the two Camp X-Ray detainees were part of an extremist Muslim sect, which preached that it was acceptable to kill non-Muslims. Related stories Negotiations need not be at summit level Advani   Pak may follow suit and test missiles  Two ISI agents held in Hyderabad  12 Pak soliders killed in border firing  Sharp rise in infiltration along LoC


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