Thwarted thrice by Indian agencies: When the Indian Mujahideen almost returned
New Delhi, Jan 10: The year 2018 witnessed several arrests of Indian Mujahideen. Those arrested were not ordinary operatives, but those who were part of the first batch which set up the Indian Mujahideen.
The arrest of Abdul Subhan alias Tauqeer was a high point for those in charge of India's internal security. With Subhan another key operative Ariz Khan was arrested. Khan, it may be recalled had escaped during the Batla House encounter.
Both Subhan and Khan had managed to give the Indian agencies the slip for more than a decade. However, both were arrested after a long chase. More importantly they were arrested in the nick of time as they had returned to India from Nepal to revive one of India's most horrific terror groups- The Indian Mujahideen.
The return thwarted:
Intelligence Bureau officials say that there were warning signs since 2017 about the IM wanting to make a comeback. The outfit was desperately looking for people to carry forward the activities of the outfit.
Subhan and Khan were based in Nepal and were in touch with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, who are now in Karachi. In a bid to revive the terror group, they needed men on the ground. The operatives, most of them had been arrested. A big blow was also dealt in 2013, when Yasin Bhatkal was arrested. Since then there has been a downslide and the outfit was unable to revive itself.
However those operatives who had fled the country began contacting their relatives in 2017. This operation was led by one Mohsin Choudhary, who is also hiding in Pakistan. He got in touch with with his relatives in India and tried convincing them to join the outfit.
The intercepted calls suggested that he was desperately looking for a bomb maker. He tells his aides and relatives that the IM needs a bomb maker at the earliest.
He was also heard saying that someone must be trained to make bombs. Yasin was the expert bomb maker in the outfit and following his arrest, the IM has not been able to find a replacement. These conversations were intercepted and an attempt to revive the outfit was foiled.
The second attempt:
With the IB getting the better of the IM, the terror group made a desperate bid and decided to send Subhan and Khan, two of its best men to India.
The plan was to launch Indian Mujahideen 2.0. For this Subhan had decided that he wanted the old team back. He along with Khan were to land in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. They were to activate the modules, following which set the tone for the revival. The entire plan was being overseen by Bhatkal brothers-Riyaz and Iqbal from Karachi in Pakistan. It is they who had planned the revival along with Subhan. This is when they felt that the older operatives who had experience in running the outfit must be asked to reach India and revive the outfit.
However when this was being planned, the IB continued to pick up intercepts and pass it on the police. We gathered it at real time and hence were able to thwart the attempt in the nick of time, officials said.
The ISI which had used the IM as a home grown terror outfit had instructed the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh to help revive the outfit. The Intelligence began tracking an operative called Idris, who was tasked with the revival of the IM.
The IB report also said that Idris has been getting in touch with operatives in West Bengal and Odisha. The intent was to have a strong home grown outfit, the IB also said.
Idirs had got in touch with several persons in Bengal. He had planned on using operatives from Odisha too. IB sources say that the JMB would look to make more such attempts at the behest of the ISI. There would be increased activity considering it is election year in India and hence the radar on such elements needs to be high at all times the officer also said.