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Agencies get cracking to trace UP born slain Al-Qaeda chief’s Indian links

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New Delhi, Jan 16: The Indian agencies have reached out to their counterparts in Afghanistan seeking more information on the Pakistan wife of slain Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent chief, Asim Umar, who is of Indian origin.

Agencies get cracking to trace UP born slain Al-Qaeda chief’s Indian links

Asim Umar who hailed from Uttar Pradesh took over as the chief of the AQIS in 2014 and was killed in a strike in 2019. His wife is currently in the custody of National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan. She was arrested in September last year and India would want to question her to find out more about Umar's links in India.

Who is AQIS chief Asim Umar, the man behind the radicalisation of UP,Bihar Muslims

Umar was appointed as the AQIS chief due to his Indian origin. His brief was specifically to pick up persons from India, especially in UP and strengthen the outfit. An Indian official told OneIndia that they are working closely with officials in Afghanistan. They have sought to question her and also requested for the case files. These details would help us get more information on the AQIS links in India, the official also pointed out.

The Indian connection:

Umar took over as the chief of the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent (AQIS) in 2014. He has been referred to as a Pakistani national, but tracing his origins suggests that he was born in Sambal in Uttar Pradesh.

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    Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials confirm that this man was of Indian origin and hence was appointed to head the India operations that were announced by the Al-Qaeda in October 2014.

    IB officials had been studying the antecedents of Umar since the launch of the India outfit and his origin has been tracked to Uttar Pradesh.

    Intelligence agencies questioned SIMI operatives such as Haider Ali an accused in the Patna blasts and found that they were reporting to the Al-Qaeda and Shaikh Umar was very much part of the organisation. Haider Ali, however, did not spill out much details on Umar's nationality but claimed that his India links were extremely strong.

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    Since the year 1989, Umar is said to have been in and out of India. He was actively involved with some cadres of the SIMI while in India. However, in the year 1995, he decided to permanently shift base to Karachi and studied at the Jamia-Uloom e Islamia a school.

    The IB officer says that they had also been monitoring and scrutinising his videos. The manner in which he spoke Urdu was very Indian like and this gave them further proof of his Indian origin.

    Path to terror:

    His path to terror was due to Kashmir. He left for Karachi and studied there for some time. His first outfit was the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and he had vowed to take the battle further against the Indian forces. He then returned to Karachi and began teaching at the Jamia Uloom e Islamia. His fierce thought process and his dedication to the cause is what drew the Al-Qaeda towards him and over the years he became the Sharia council chief of the Al-Qaeda. His job was to preach ideology and ensure that more and more youth are drawn towards the cause of the Al-Qaeda.

    Although he was based out of Pakistan and Afghanistan he remained in touch with the cadres of the SIMI in India. The SIMI headed by Safdar Nagori had pledged its support to the Al-Qaeda. All through Umar was the man who kept in touch with the Indian cadres of SIMI. Nagori too speaks about his association with a top Al-Qaeda leader.

    Umar unlike the rest of the Al-Qaeda always took a keen interest in India. Most of its statements were related to India and the most popular one was, " why is there no storm in your ocean." This statement was directed at India and was seen as an attempt to provoke the Indian Muslims to rise and join the Al-Qaeda.

    Can't Bihar produce one Mujahideen:

    His other statement was targeted at Bihar where he asked, "can't Bihar produce one Mujahideen. He also made another remark at Uttar Pradesh where he sought to know if there is no mother who can sing a song to her son urging him to become a Mujahideen.

    These are particularly interesting statements since they are related to Bihar and UP which are the strongest dens of the SIMI which is now part of the Al-Qaeda and is helping set up the Indian wing.

    The fact that he is of Indian origin was the biggest kept secret. Since the past 10 years, he had been sheltered in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His links with the ISI were intact and he had deliberately never shown his face to the media unlike the rest of the Al-Qaeda operatives including Ayman Al- Zawahiri.

    This the IB says was a deliberate ploy to avoid the Indian agencies. Several persons questioned in Uttar Pradesh were unable to confirm his origin for the want of a face.

    The questioning of Haider Ali and Safdar Nagori held the key to establish the origin of Umar. Both had spoken about the rise of the Al-Qaeda in India and how the outfit was extremely keen on launching operations in India. Both Nagori and Haider Ali told the IB that they were in touch with a man who spoke Urdu the Indian way and all along he told them that at any cost the caliphate needs to be established and India will play a great role.

    Both said that the Al-Qaeda had a great potential in India and there were several youths who subscribed to the ideology of the Al-Qaeda and were ready to battle with them. The Al-Qaeda had managed to rope in at least 30 youth from Uttar Pradesh and Bhatkal in Karnataka and each of them has had links with the SIMI.

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