As 2014 General Elections was approaching, Congress killed all the issues against it for then opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) by executing 26/11 lone survivor Amir Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attacked convicted Afzal Guru. There after Congress government caught alive Lashkar-e-Taiba’s bomb making expert Abdul Karim Tunda and Indian Mujahideen co-founder and accused in multiple bomb blast in India Yasin Bhatkal. ‘Tunda’ as well as Bhatkal were arrested from the Indo-Nepal border. Yasin was handed to Indian Police by Nepal Police on 28 August 2013. The arrest of Yasin alias Ahmed Siddibapa alias Shahrukh was seen as a major breakthrough in the agencies’ protracted efforts to break the back of the Indian Mujahideen, the Lashker-e-Taiba-backed indigenous terrorist outfit behind the Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Jaipur blasts. During interrogations Bhatkal admitted to recruiting young men from Bihar for terror attacks across the country. Yasin Bhatkal admitted his involvement in carrying out the 2011 triple blasts in Mumbai. He admitted to the investigative agency that he was the mastermind behind the blasts and he is satisfied with whatever he has done and has no remorse or regret over it.
Yasin Bhatkal allegedly entered Pakistan in early 2006 on a regular commercial flight from Dubai even though he did not have a visa and was whisked away from the aircraft by his contacts to avoid immigration checks. Yasin was taken to a hilly region with little habitation around, about 8–10 hours from Karachi and believed to be somewhere in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. On the very next day his training started. Yasin has told interrogators that he spent about 50 days in Pakistan undergoing training to launch terror attacks and returned to Dubai in the same manner after his hosts stamped his passport with fake immigration stamps.
This is the first time ever that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) cadres have been convicted. A special NIA court convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for their involvement in the February 21, 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad that had claimed 18 lives. Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akhtar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaikh of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody. The alleged key conspirator, Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large. In its chargesheet, the NIA claimed that the IM had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further its activities.
Key operative Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out to store explosive materials sent by him. After receiving the materials sent by Riyaz through an unknown person, and the money sent by him by way of hawala and other channels, Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and started working with Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, who had reached there and was living in a hideout at Abdullapurmet area, the NIA probe report claimed.
The other materials needed to make a bomb, including a pressure cooker and timers, were arranged in Hyderabad. After the bomb was made, on February 21, they mounted two IEDs on two bicycles (purchased by them for that purpose), and planted them in two separate places in Dilsukhnagar. The NIA investigation brought to evidence all the financial help received by the accused from abroad.
The NIA said it learnt that the miscreants, after procuring the explosive materials, conducted a test blast in a hillock near Abdullapurmet. The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing materials for the bombs, until the final escape. They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity. The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Akhtar after the incident, was also unearthed, the NIA said. During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized. Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record as evidence.
No doubt, this was a great work done by the security officials. Questions must be asked about the porous Indo-Nepal border and the entry of terrorists from Nepal via Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has to be a priority for Indian intelligence and to liaise with Nepalese officials to close this route. The police and intelligence did their job. Now, it’s judicial system which has delivered the justice and sent a strong message to terror outfits that India has a zero tolerance policy towards terror. Our investigating as well as intelligence agencies need to deliver more in order to bring those convicts to justice or to stop such incidents. At the grassroots level, police must be provided with modern facilities like arms to deal with any aggressions. They should be provided with better communication modes for real time updates. System should be given expedite communication so that the culprit could not flee far away from law enforcement agencies. Everybody has to play their roles here. Then only we can live and imagine a ‘terror free’ India.
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