Starting with Yasin, the entire top leadership of the terror outfit in India has been arrested RAHUL TRIPATHI reports how
In just over eight months, five agencies working together have netted the entire top leadership of the Indian Mujahideen in India. The operations, led by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and including Intelligence Bureau (IB), NIA, Delhi Police and Rajasthan Police, have been a result of human intelligence and surveillance and close coordination, for once unstymied by inter-agency rivalries.
Since 2008, more than 120 IM operatives have been held across the country. While it is clear that the IM is no more limited to a particular state or region — the recent captures show it’s spread all over, including Goa, Kerala, Orissa and Chhattisgarh — since Yasin’s arrest, the Patna attack of October 2013 has been the only one in India with an IM link.
According to officials, the breakthrough in the war against India’s homegrown terror outfit was the August 2013 arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, an IM co-founder and the head of its operations in India. Yasin was arrested from Nepal, where he had set up three different hideouts in the scenic town of Pokhra.
R&AW was first tipped off about Yasin’s presence by its assets in Nepal. This was confirmed by a courier sent by Yasin to his wife in Delhi in August 2013. Tahseen Akhtar acted as the courier, delivering a consignment of Rs 1 lakh. Indian agencies mounted a surveillance of Yasin’s wife’s mobile phone and, in a swift operation spread over a week, arrested him from Nepal. Asadullah, who was then staying with Yasin, came as a bonus catch. When Yasin was finally picked up, he did not resist and, in fact, confirmed that he was the man the officials were looking for.
This was a big boost for Indian agencies as Yasin had given them the slip at least three times earlier. Yasin, and later other IM operatives, have helped officials better understand terror modules, their behaviour, timing, method and pattern of attacks. Above all, Yasin has provided one crucial input: that most IM operatives are taught that when caught and made to chat with their Pakistani handlers or associates, they must not initiate a conversation. That is a signal that they have been arrested.
Increasing international cooperation has been another shot in the arm. Since 2012, countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have deported several big prize catches, with the most recent being Abdul Wahid Siddibappa alias ‘Khan’, an alleged IM financer, from Dubai. He was identified based on Yasin’s interrogation and arrested following an NIA red corner notice. However, there has been a setback in getting him to India. With Delhi delaying sending a response, he was arrested and now has to be extradited rather than deported — a continued…