Why was Odisha chosen as one of the states by alleged members of the al-Qaeda to recruit youth? The state has a Muslim population of around 2.1 per cent and is really not watched much by the Intelligence Bureau officials for Islamic terrorism.
However, the arrest of Maulvi Abdul Rehman Kataki from Cuttack last week has sure been a wake up call for the security agencies in Odisha.
The state which has always faced a problem from the naxalites today has an additional headache in the form of Islamic terrorism. Going by the investigations, it becomes clear that since the state has a very unassuming nature where Islamic terror is concerned, it would have provided for a perfect launch pad for any terror group.
Odisha's wake up call:
For the security mechanism in Odisha it has been a wake up call. When Chandra Behera was arrested for allegedly taking pictures of a test range in Chandipur, the signs were on the wall. He was alleged to be shooting pictures of sensitive locations at the behest of the ISI.
The Intelligence Bureau had then warned that although there are no real instances of Islamic terrorism in the state of Odisha, it still had key targets that militants would like to attack.
The arrest of Kataki has given the state a completely different dimension. It is no longer immune to the threat of Islamic terror. Odisha had become a perfect recruiting as well hiding ground. IB officials say that Odisha could have been used both as a launch pad as well as a hiding ground by Islamic terrorists.
The investigations being conducted will throw more light on what plans the al-Qaeda had for Odisha. It has been found so far that Kataki known for his communally charged speeches had planned on sprucing up recruitments in various other states as well.
He had been running a school without a licence for sometime and had around 85 students under him. He had been detained in Ranchi a few months back for making a communally charged speech.
While it is still unclear what exactly his motives were, the police are probing the possibility of him setting up modules for the al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent or the AQIS.