New Delhi, Sep 16: The arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen operative, Qamer ur Zaman only shows that the outfit never lost sight of Uttar Pradesh. The outfit which is strong in Jammu and Kashmir has for long being spreading its tentacles outside the state.
In Uttar Pradesh, it found that there was a strong potential to set up shop. It has been trying to main inroads into UP, by luring local Muslims. In UP, it worked closely with the SIMI. However the operations were derailed after the government banned the SIMI in 2000.
While most of the major operations were carried out by the SIMI and later the Indian Mujahideen, it was the Hizbul Mujahideen which was responsible for the funds and ammunition. In fact the Hizbul Mujahideen was the first outfit to use RDX and ammonium nitrate in Lucknow and Kanpur.
The hand of the outfit was found in several terror attacks. The twin blasts in Arya Nagar in 2000 was followed by an attack on the Sabarmati Express the same year.
The outfit had also attempted a major attack during the Independence Day celebrations. However the mishandling of the bomb led to the death of four of its operatives.
Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that the Hizbul Mujahideen worked very closely with the SIMI. It was the Hizbul which first contacted the SIMI, which was a very strong outfit in UP. The outfit wanted to set up a non-Kashmir module and it found that UP was a potential hub.
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Groups such as the SIMI and Indian Mujahideen drew most of its operatives from UP and Azamgarh had become a prime recruiting hub. The Hizbul Mujahideen got in touch with Mohammad Ghaznavi, who was first part of the SIMI and later joined the Indian Mujahideen. The first traces of the outfit from Kashmir was found in 1997. The association with the SIMI went on until 2001 following which there was a lull.
However the Hizbul Mujahideen never lost sight of UP and continued to recruit from the state. In several cases, it has trained recruits from UP and either used them for local operations or for fidayeen strikes in Kashmir.
Further the outfit was also using UP as a hub to make a statement in Assam. Zaman originally hailed from Assam and was tasked with carrying out a major strike in UP. The police during the course of investigations learnt that he had also planned on setting up a major module in Assam for the Hizbul. The attack on a temple in UP was meant to convey a message as a result of which the outfit hoped to boost recruitments in Assam.