Terror network still exists in country, say experts

Terror network still exists in country, say experts

Deputy NSA expresses fear of renewal of terrorist activities

With a new government set to take over, anti-terror sleuths say that the last word on tackling the menace is yet to be said despite success in busting several modules of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Though cadres are “demoralised” with the frequent arrests of leaders, investigators are not confident enough to say that they have broken the terror network in the country.

Nehchal Sandhu, outgoing National Security Deputy Advisor, on Wednesday expressed fear about renewed activities by terrorists based in Pakistan.
He said in the coming days, “launching pads” along the Pakistan border are expected to be “re-activated” to create trouble in the country. 

Sandhu, the former Intelligence Bureau chief who was speaking at a BSF function, pointed out that the “conflict entrepreneurs” in Pakistan are working hard to “sustain and entrench” an atmosphere of animosity against India.

His comments came a day after National Investigation Agency (NIA) announced the arrest of four persons allegedly linked with the IM and SIMI. They were accused of involvement in the Patna serial blasts aimed at “targeting” Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sharad Kumar, Director General of the NIA said that he would not say that they have spotted and eliminated all terror modules. “I will not say that but I can say that the cadres are hugely demoralised,” Kumar said. Sources said the IM is now operating through the network of SIMI.

The anxiety among the security establishment is that a number of top terrorists like Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal are still on the loose. There are also others like Dr Shahnawaz and Mohd Sajid, who were allegedly linked to the 2007 Delhi blasts and other cases, who are free.

The security establishment believes that the terror network is reinventing them and a recruitment process is on with the SIMI as base.

The four persons, including Hyder Ali, who is described by NIA as only second to the arrested Yasin Bhatkal, Asadullah Akthar, Tehseen Akthar and Waqas, were SIMI members. 

Asked about the threat posed by the SIMI, Kumar said it is trying to remain in the game despite the government banning it. They are assuming new names and forming several outfits, one of them being Indian Muslim Front, he said.

Another senior NIA officer said the Indian Mujahideen and the SIMI have close links. For the new government, the immediate task is to formulate a “new approach” for tackling terrorism, former IPS officer Prakash Singh told Deccan Herald.

“At present, there is no clarity on policy. The government should also understand that the existing Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is not good enough. It needs to be strengthened,” he said.

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