Sri Lanka has yet again raised concerns over the presence of ISI sponsored groups trying to radicalise Muslims in the country. Sri Lankan authorities say that the Lashkar-e-Taiba through its charitable wing, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK) is trying to set up its base.
Interestingly this is the same charitable outfit that the Lashkar-e-Taiba had set up in Maldives in 2012. A shadow organisation by the name Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, considered to be a front for the Lashkar, was sent into Maldives to help the Tsunami victims in the year 2004. Since that there has been activity in the country and the results of the same we see today.
Breaking the Sri Lankan Muslim
Following the arrest of Zaheed Hussain, a resident of Kandy in Sri Lanka, there was a lot of clarity in the manner in which the ISI operated in that country.
Hussain was arrested barely 48 hours before the Chennai blast of 2014 and he had confessed that he was reporting to the Pakistan high commission in Colombo and was entrusted the role of planning a Tamil Nadu attack and also recruiting youth.
Intelligence officials, who track the Sri Lanka operations, inform that for the ISI to work through Sri Lankan groups and try and attack South India is a very natural and tempting proposition.
The ISI has a good reach in the North, West and Eastern parts of the country through the border and other routes. The South, on the other hand, has a very vibrant Muslim population in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu which has remained untouched for a long time.
The first signs that emerged in South was through the SIMI and this is something that is growing into a big menace.
Coming back to Sri Lanka, there is a strong Sri Lankan Tamil Muslim population in the eastern part of the country. These people have maintained their identity and remained non-militant for a long time. However, they were victims of the LTTE activities in the East.
These Muslims stayed away from the violence despite being targeted by the LTTE. They remained a strong and vocal group politically.
Despite trying to maintain their individual identity, the ISI did start making attempts ten years back to woo these Muslims. There were reports ten years back that the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka was becoming active among this population on religious lines.
Despite the ISI trying, they have been rebuffed by these Muslims several times. It was around the same time even the LTTE was trying to set up its base in the eastern part of Sri Lanka, but even they were not successful.
The ISI then used a different ploy. They targeted Maldives and used the operatives from there. The drug market was activated and this was being pushed into eastern Sri Lanka. This caused a great deal of turbulence in the region and once this becomes the situation, it becomes a fertile ground for terror.
The ISI pushed in hawala operators, drug and human traffickers, arms dealers and many such anti-social elements into east Sri Lanka.
This led to absolute confusion and the cause that the Sri Lankan Muslims from the East were trying to espouse became weak. They turned more towards the ISI, who only wanted to use them as pawns to strike in South India.
The ISI found it easier to utilize their services in order to set up bases in South India. Moreover in some instances some of the Muslims were brainwashed by quoting the atrocities meted out to them by the LTTE.
This caused an anger among them and many agreed to be part of a network to attack Tamil Nadu which many feel were soft towards the cause of the LTTE.