The arrest of some important Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives in quick succession, the latest being one of its alleged co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, is being seen as a major success for Indian intelligence agencies, particularly the Intelligence Bureau (IB), in dismantling the terror group that is responsible for some of major terror attacks across India in recent years.
Through these arrests, the agencies have managed to dent funding and operational capabilities of the terror group to great extend. For instance, Yasin Bhatkal, who was arrested along with Asadullah Akhtar, who hails from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, were IM’s main operative who were expert in bomb-making and in carrying out operations. Similarly, another IM terrorist Adbul Sattar, who was deported by the UAE earlier this month, used to hold camps and was a hawala operative. He trained IM operatives and arranged funds for the organisation, says the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charge sheet. But after his involvement in terror cases was revealed, he fled to the Gulf country in 2007.
Then, in May last year India managed to get hold of Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal from IGI Airport in Delhi when he was travelling from Saudi Arabia on a Pakistani passport. He was reportedly deported from Saudi Arabia, though the government denied it. Apart from other cases of terror, he is alleged to be one of the terrorists who were sitting in the Karachi control room and coordinating 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He was an important Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative who was also having close links with the IM, and his job was to raise cadre and sources funds for terror operations.
Again in May 2012, India registered a diplomatic victory of sorts when it managed to convince Saudi Arabia government to deport Fasih Mahmood, another alleged IM operative who was involved in at least two bomb blasts. He was not only an alleged indoctrinator for the terror group but also a fund raiser.
Another important arrest this month was that of Abdul Karim Tunda from a location near the Indo-Nepal border. An LeT operative involved in many bomb blasts in the 1990s, Tunda was also close to one of India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. He was reportedly working in a madarsa and looking for people to recruit in his organisation besides arranging for funds.
“These arrests have been made possible due to intelligence gathering and sharing between various intelligence and security agencies...The coordination between of the IB and the Research & Analysis Wing proved to be very crucial in these arrests,” said a senior intelligence official. The agencies are now focusing on two other co-founders of the IM — Riyaz Bhakal and Iqbal Bhatkal — who are now in Pakistan.
Apart from the IM operatives, the agencies are also focusing on key LeT terrorists, particularly those who masterminded the Mumbai attacks that include head of LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed, LeT commander Sajid Mir and LeT co-founder and terror group’s Kashmir commander Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi. All of them are currently in Pakistan.