Bhubaneswar,June 23: The Odisha crime branch which has been questioning Abdur Rehman claims to have unearthed a lot of details regarding the operation of the al- Qaeda in the Sub Continent. Rehman had been arrested for his alleged links to the AQIS and police officials from both Delhi and Odisha claim that he is an important operative.
He was brought down to Odisha three days back for questioning on a transit remand from Delhi. During his questioning he is said to have confessed to sheltering some terrorists in Odisha where he ran a Madrasa which is now closed.
While one must wait for the complete investigation details, it now appears that the Odisha police are gradually waking up to the threat of terror. The state has been used as a transit point or hiding place by many alleged terror operatives.
Is Odisha up to the threat?
Odisha has always had a problem with naxals. The police in the state were engaged in curbing naxal activities, but in the bargain ignored another threat.
Terrorist groups plotted to make this state a hiding joint at first. Later on investigations revealed that gradually the shift was made from hiding joint to launch pad. [Al-Qaeda admits link with Kandahar plane hijack terrorists]
Over the past year there has been a surge in activity in the state. Spies, absconding terrorists and radical preachers have all visited Odisha knowing fully well that the radar would not be on them.
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 Rehman 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 Rehman 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.