Terrorist attacks have often been launched during campaign time, and opposition leaders are more vulnerable.
On a late January evening in 2008, two policemen were routinely checking vehicles in a remote corner of Davanagere district in Karnataka. They stopped a two-wheeler and searched its sidebox. To their surprise, the policemen found a pile of vehicle number plates stashed therein. Suspecting the two youngsters on the two-wheeler to be vehicle thieves, the policemen handed them over to the Honnali police station.
It would have been treated as an ordinary arrest and dealt with accordingly, but for the fact that the district’s young superintendent of police thought of consulting the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau in Bangalore, who lost no time in establishing the identity of one of the arrested persons as Raziuddin Naser, who had just returned after a sojourn in Pakistan.
Sustained interrogation of Naser revealed that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India had revived itself under Safdar Nagori and was planning to carry out vehicle-bombing operations in Goa and elsewhere and that he and his partner were engaged in stealing vehicles to that end. That was the first indication of the emergence of the organisation which, a few months earlier, had decided to call itself Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Discreet and coordinated operations by Central intelligence and the police in various states led, within a couple of months, to the tracking down of Safdar Nagori and several of his associates belonging to different modules from various parts of the country. It was then believed that a great threat to national security had been averted thanks to the arrest and revelations of Raziudin Naser. That belief proved wrong. Starting with Jaipur in May 2008, a series of blasts, referred to by some as the BAD (Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi) blasts, rocked the nation.
Names like Riyas, Iqbal and Yasin Bhatkal became familiar to everyone. The past few years have seen intense and widespread operations by the intelligence agencies and security forces to nab the absconding IM leaders. Out of the 50 most wanted persons figuring on the National Investigation Agency’s website, about 10 are from the IM. Over the last six months or so, our intelligence agencies and police have succeeded in netting several of them, including Bhatkal, Asadulla Akhtar, Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, Waqas, etc — the last two in the last week alone. But continued…