31 terrorists on the loose, special team to hunt them

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 00:06

New Delhi: Planning a major crackdown on
absconding terrorists, the Centre has formed special teams to
nab 31 most wanted militants, including 19 Indian Mujahideen
men, whose list has been circulated to all the states and
Union Territories.

Official sources said these special teams will make
"concerted efforts" to apprehend the absconding IM and
Jam-I-yyathul Ansarul Muslimeen (JIAM) terrorists within the
country and coordinate with foreign countries where they are
suspected to be holed up.

The Union Home Ministry prepared a complete set of the 31
absconding Indian Mujahideen cadres and circulated it to all
the states and union territories for gaining more and more
information about them.

The detailed dossiers about the IM militants along with
photographs have also been shared with a few Gulf countries as
intelligence inputs suggested that some of them were currently
based there their with Pakistani passports.

The sources said some of the foreign countries had already
started helping the security agencies and begun surveillance
on some suspects.

Among these 31 terrorists, eight are from Uttar Pradesh
(all from Azamgarh), ten from Karnataka (three of them from
Bhatkal town), six from Kerala (all from Kannur), three from
Maharashtra and two each from Gujarat and Jharkhand.

Have you seen these men?

Of these terrorists, majority were either in Pakistan or
in Middle-East while around 10 are in India, the sources said.

The Home Ministry dispatched the particulars of the IM
terrorists to the states and advised them to be alert and look
for them as some of them could be hiding anywhere in India.

There have been regular intelligence inputs that the IM
has been trying to expand its network by recruiting new
members, particularly from Uttar Pradesh, and sending some of
them to Pakistan for terror training.

Sources said though the IM cadres were lying low for
sometime, the terror group has not desisted from launching
terror attacks in the country -- the recent one being at
Varanasi on Tuesday last.

The Indian Mujahideen`s hand is suspected in over 10
serial blasts in Delhi and other parts of the country that
claimed nearly 500 lives.

The IM, which is a shadow outfit of the banned SIMI and
Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba and directly controlled by ISI,
was banned by the Government in June this year.

With its addition to the terror list, the number of such
outfits has gone up to 35 which includes al-Qaeda, LTTE,
Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, CPI-Maoist and ULFA.

The Indian Mujahideen is alleged to be involved in serial
bomb blasts in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore and Mumbai and
came under spotlight on February 23, 2005 when it carried out
a blast in Varanasi leaving eight people injured.

The deadliest attack of the IM was in the pre-Diwali
blasts in the national capital in 2005 in which 66 people were
killed.

Amir Reza Khan was the founding member of the Indian
Mujahideen, which was created by ISI ostensibly to spread
terror through Indian front outfits. The group is at present
headed by Iqbal Bhatkal, a resident of North Karnataka, the
sources say.

The outfit`s hand is seen in this year`s Pune blast that
claimed 17 lives. Maharashtra`s Anti-Terrorist Squad claims
that it had evidence to link Riaz Bhatkal, Iqbal`s brother,
with the blast. The Bhatkal brothers are believed to be in the
Gulf and Pakistan.

-PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 00:06

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