On October 18 2012, the then Director General of Police in West Bengal, Naparajit Mukherjee had stated that there is a growing nexus between the naxals and the ISI sponsored terrorist groups. He further stated that the nexus needs to be considered with all seriousness and it could spearhead into a major problem.
This statement is a grim reminder of how the naxalites would side with any group that is anti-national. This point needs to be discussed today considering that the probe into the JNU row has revealed the hand of a group called the Democratic Student's Union (DSU).
Naxalites and their frontal groups have been cozying up to ISI sponsored groups since 2009. It was the financial and the weapons crunch being faced by the naxalites which led them to exploring a nexus with the ISI. For the ISI the naxalites were the best bet to promote home grown terror.
The naxal-ISI nexus:
In the year 2009, the ISI realised that the naxals were facing a financial crunch. The naxals had become desperate. While they were hesitant at first, they bit the bait when large chunks of money and arms were offered to them. The ISI which is well networked in Dubai used some Indians to get in touch with the naxals.
When the Intelligence Bureau tipped off the police about this nexus, there was an arrest made in Karnataka. The person who was arrested went by the name Altaf and he revealed for the first time that he was trying to establish a link between the underworld in Dubai and the naxals. Moreover he was instructed to hand over Rs 25 lakh to a naxal sympathiser who in turn was supposed to strike a deal between the ISI and the naxals.
The next move by the ISI was to sent an operative by the name Umer Madani to talk with the naxals. Madani a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative active in Kashmir. Madani who was arrested told the police that he was asked by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to pass on money to the naxals. His questioning led to the police finding a person called Yusuf Salim. The police learnt that Salim who also hailed from Kashmir had held talks with the naxals.
Roping in the SIMI:
With several Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives being arrested, the ISI then roped in the Students Islamic Movement of India to carry forward the talks with the naxals. cadres of the SIMI were told to relocate to naxal infested areas. The talks between the SIMI and the naxalites was successful.
The police at first did not realise how the naxals continued to get arms and finances despite a massive crackdown. Later on it was found that the routes that the SIMI had set up were being used by the naxals to source arms and ammunition.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that the close ties between ISI sponsored groups and the naxal has been a danger since the past seven years now. The Delhi police would need to look closely into this link while probing the JNU case. For the ISI, the Afzal Guru issue is a trump card which they can flog while trying to keep the Kashmir issue alive.
The ISI may find it difficult to operate directly in New Delhi and hence would rely on naxal sympathetic groups to further their cause. This year around the Afzal Guru related protests were planned intentionally in New Delhi.
Students did participate in a protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru. However, in the crowd were members of the pro naxalite DSU which raised the slogans against India as a result of which this issue has snow balled into such a major controversy.