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IM: From offshoot of SIMI to shadow of LeT

The Indian Mujahideen, banned by the Home Ministry today, is said to have metamorphosed from a radical offshoot of SIMI to a full-fledged terror group supported by Pakistan`s ISI.



New Delhi: Known for their signature style of
claiming responsibility of terror attacks by sending emails,
the Indian Mujahideen, banned by the Home Ministry today, is
said to have metamorphosed from a radical offshoot of SIMI to
a full-fledged terror group supported by Pakistan`s ISI.

The outfit is said to have been founded after a rift in
the ranks of SIMI, with one group led by Safdar Nagori
sticking to radical militant ideology while the other, led by
Mohammed Islam, former Chief Coordinator of SIMI, preferred a
moderate approach.
In the aftermath of the Godhra incident in 2002, the two
factions broke away and the hardline wing of SIMI decided to
launch a militant outfit, which immediately got support from
Pakistan`s spy agency ISI.

The militant wing co-founded by Amir Reza Khan, Riyaz
Shahbandri and Abdul Subhan Qureshi consisted of students,
most of them Kashmiris, studying in Deobandi madrasas in South
Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The
faction was christened as Indian Mujahideen.

According to intelligence agencies, IM, currently headed
by the elusive Iqbal Bhatkal, is now believed to have turned
into is a shadow outfit of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba.

The group showed its presence for the fist time in 2005
by claiming responsibility for the Varanasi blasts. It was
followed by serial explosions outside courts in Uttar Pradesh
in November 2007. IM is said to have been behind at least 10
serial blasts across the country.

The email sent five minutes ahead of these blasts to
various television channels also dropped enough hints that the
group could be behind the Mumbai serial train blasts of 2006,
in which nearly 187 people were killed.
This was followed by the serial blasts in Jaipur in May
this year, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi, for which the
Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility. More than 70 people
were killed in these attacks.

Experts say that Indian Mujahideen was a fit case for
banning. "This group is hundred per cent fit case to be banned
under the unlawful activities (Prevention) Act," said former
Director (Intelligence Bureau) Ajit Doval.

According to the provisions of a 1967 law "unlawful
activity" is defined as any action taken by individual or
associations (whether by act, words or signs) which is
intended to question or disrupts the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of India or cause disaffection can be
banned.

PTI

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