December 2005 News

Terror Spreading Its Tentacles

31 December 2005
The Times of India

Srinagar: It is no more a question of Jammu and Kashmir, then. Terrorists have expanded their canvas to include the whole of India. There have been intermittent attacks in other parts of the country, but what till now was seen as an aberration, is slowly being considered by intelligence agencies as part of a well-planned agenda: hit hard and hit everywhere - Kolkata, Coimbatore, Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Bangalore. From the east to west, north to south, every region is in their deadly radar. Disquiet, gunshots and bomb blasts have hit the previously calm states and cities. Former RAW chief B Raman says 'sleeper cells' of pro-al Qaida jehadi terrorist organisations, with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh, are now operating in south India. The most active in the south has been the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), followed by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI). While LeT activities in Kashmir and north India are controlled from headquarters at Muridke near Lahore, operations in the south and western parts of the country are controlled from Saudi Arabia and occasionally Dubai, observed Raman, now director of Institute for Topical Studies in Chennai. Andhra Pradesh was never too distant for creation of terrorist hubs. In the 1990s, a series of subversive activities also hit Tamil Nadu. In Coimbatore, there were the blasts in February 1998, followed by serial train explosions on December 6 the same year. Two major groups operate from the south - Al Umma of S A Basha - who engineered the Coimbatore blasts, and the Islamic Defence Force (IDF), which became All-India Jihad Committee (AIJC) and more recently the Muslim Democratic Force (MDF). With major terrorist groups like the LeT, Hijbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad joining hands and pooling in resources, the fear now in intelligence and security establishments is that smaller extremist groups will be co-opted to aid in the bigger design - the destabilisation of India, economic and otherwise. In Kerala it was the Islamic Swayam Sevak, a model against RSS, that was fast and keen to pick up signals from terrorist groups operating from J&K and Pakistan. The People's Democratic Party (different from the PDP in Kashmir) had links with foreign terrorist groups. Karnataka, and especially Bangalore, had remained untouched, but that was until the IISc attack on Wednesday. Cosmopolitan in nature, penetration was difficult though the city had always been a good escape route because of a lax security scanner. Though the J&K police maintain there is as yet no connection of the IISc attack with Kashmir terror outfits, a senior central intelligence officer in Srinagar said the hand of militants there in the Bangalore bloodshed cannot be ruled out. 'The modus operandi of the IISc terrorists leads us to believe that the attackers could be from Kashmir,' a senior intelligence officer said.

 

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