Once known for Hindu-Muslim unity and high intellect, Azamgarh is now being tagged as the 'new breeding ground' for the militants. The intelligence authorities believe that the region has proved to be a fertile ground for many militant outfits like Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI). Police claim that 13 school friends hailing from Azamgarh planned and executed the recent serial blasts in Delhi.
It is a poor district of Uttar Pradesh. Often poverty, unemployment and lack of education force the young men from the village to move out of their home town and hunt for job elsewhere. Most Muslim families here have their kith and kin working either in Gulf nations or in metropolis like Delhi and Mumbai.
It is reported that lack of proper educational institutions and presence of militant outfits provide a perfect setting for misleading people of the town.
Top intelligence and police officials now say that the arrest of Abu Bashar, a top SIMI activist, from the Saraimir area in Azamgarh, was not merely a coincidence but may be the first of many such arrests. They claim that there are many SIMI operatives in eastern UP but about two dozen of them are quite active. They are very active at certain times but mostly they are dormant. About a dozen of them belong to Azamgarh," the officials said. "We cannot pick them up without direct evidence of their involvement in the anti national activities," they added. There are a number of sleeper cells of SIMI, which can be activated at any time and they are the real problem, they said.
The land that produced people like renowned poets like Kaifi Azmi and scholars like Rahul Sankrityayana has now got into dirty world of terror. And the list of people involved in notorious activities from Azamgarh is expanding from Dawood Ibrahim to Haji Mastan, Chhota Shakeel to Abu Salim to now the Delhi terror suspects Atif, Sajid, Mufti Abu Bashar and Saif.