Uttar Pradesh admitted to ISI presence twice

Uttar Pradesh admitted to ISI presence twice

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's remarks, that Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was in touch with Muslim youths whose families were displaced in the recent Muzaffarnagar communal riots, may have triggered a controversy and the current UP government may also have denied having inputs in this regard, but previous regimes had officially admitted that the ISI was indeed active in several districts of the state.

Both the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in 2003 as well as the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in 2007 had admitted in the state Assembly that the Pakistani spy agency was active in many districts of UP.

While the SP regime had said that the ISI was active in 34 districts, many of which are in the western region of the state, the Mayawati government had conceded the presence of the ISI in as many as 37 districts.

The districts where the ISI was said to be active included Meerut, Bulandshahar and Baghpat in western UP and Varanasi and Azamgarh in the eastern region of the state.

Abdul Karim Tunda, the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant arrested from the Indo-Nepal border by Delhi Police in August, hails from Hapur, which is not very far from the riot-torn Muzaffarnagar district.

Even local intelligence officials admit that while specific inputs regarding the ISI being active in the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar may not have been there, the agency was active in many western UP districts.

Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma too had said that “outside elements” appeared to be fuelling tension in the district.

The UP government had trashed Rahul Gandhi's remarks that the ISI was in touch with riot-affected Muslim youngsters in Muzaffarnagar, saying that it had no such inputs from intelligence agencies.

Rahul's remarks had triggered a huge controversy, with Muslim clerics, SP leaders and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi issuing sharp condemnations.

UP Urban Development Minister Azam Khan, who was in the cabinet too when the SP regime had admitted to the ISI's presence in the state, had also denounced the remarks, saying that Rahul must make the names of these youths public. “He should reveal the names. We will take action,” he had said.

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