"Indian Mujahideen was behind three of the four major blasts in the country this year"

Pointing out that India was facing multifarious challenges on internal security, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday said that terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) was behind three of the four major blasts in the country this year.

Without taking names, Mr. Shinde said that Indian Mujahideen draws its motivation and sustenance from inimical forces operating from across the Western border. He held IM responsible for Hyderabad twin blasts and the series of blasts at Bodh Gaya and Patna in Bihar. “Another blast that took place in Bangalore was the handiwork of some misguided fundamentalist youth and remnants of Al Ummah,” he said.

Addressing the inaugural session of the three-day conference of Directors General of Police (DGPs) here, organised by the Intelligence Bureau, Mr. Shinde made a special mention of the arrest of alleged IM mastermind Yasin Bhatkal and Abdul Karim, also known as Tunda, both of whom were wanted in many bomb blasts cases in different parts of the country.

Describing the arrests as "a major breakthrough" in the fight against terrorism, he said it was important that the leads emanating from the investigations “are vigorously pursued to apprehend all those associated with this network.”

Stating that the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) has emerged as an effective platform for proper coordination between Central and State agencies, he said the scope of MAC was now being extended to more than 450 districts across the country. The mechanism of MAC was instituted by his predecessor P. Chidambaram who had taken over the reigns of the Home Ministry in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai serial terror attack in November 2008. However, his other brain-child – the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) – failed to find favour with the States and continues to remain in cold storage.

Communal riots

Cautioning against attempts being made to vitiate communal harmony, especially in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the Home Minister said the most disturbing communal clash took place in Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas in Western U.P. where more than 50 people lost their lives and nearly 50,000 were displaced.

“In most of these States, the triggering factors for communal incidents were trivial in nature and could have been nipped in the bud by effective, prompt and unbiased administrative action. It is essential for all district administrations to put in place an early warning system for immediate detection of communal issues,” he told top police officials.

Anti-naxal operations

Lauding the Central paramilitary and police forces for their role in conducting peaceful assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, a hotbed of Naxals, he said that high voter turnout has sent the right message to the Naxalites that common people of the area have reposed faith in the country's democratic polity.

“There has also been a drop in the casualty figure of security forces from 111 last year to 97 this year. On the other hand, the number of Naxals killed has gone up to 97 from 71 last year for the same period,” he said.

On Jammu and Kashmir, he said that huge voter turnout in the recent panchayat elections bears testimony to the fact that support for the militants was getting eroded.

Social media

Both Mr. Shinde and IB Director Asif Ibrahim cautioned against misuse of social media. The Home Minister said while the Government favours freedom of expression, mischievous use of this medium to foment trouble needs to be checked. Last year, he said, social media was exploited by vested interests to generate fear amongst the people of the North East in Bangalore which resulted in their exodus in large numbers. More recently, the Muzaffarnagar riots were fanned by similar misuse.

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