Excerpts from Shishir Gupta’s book which traces the genesis of the terror group
Banglore Mirror July 18, 2011
|While reams could be written on 26/11, our focus is on the intersection and overlap between LeT-ISI and the Indian Mujahideen.|
The role of the Indian Mujahideen was peripheral, but it was in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks that one could trace out the birth and origins of this group and the Pakistani involvement behind its creation. Had it not been for the mistakes mentioned earlier, the Mumbai attacks would also have been blamed on the Shahbuddin Ghouri brigade of the Indian Mujahideen.
The terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks were all carrying fake identity cards of Arunodaya Degree and Post-Graduate College, Vedre Complex, Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad.
Kasab was Samir Dinesh Chaudhari from Bengaluru; Ismail Khan was Naresh Vilas Varma of Hyderabad, Imran Babar was Arjun Kumar of Hyderabad; Nasir Umar was Dinesh Kumar of Hyderabad; Hafiz Arshad was Raghubir Singh of Ahmedabad; Abdul Rehman was Arun Sharma of Navi Delhi and Fahadullah was Rohil Patil of Hyderabad. Not only this, a virulent e-mail from the so-called group Mujahideen Hyderabad Deccan was sent to all the prominent TV news channels and print media during the Mumbai terror attack.
Highlighting the plight of Muslims in India, the e-mail, written in chaste Hindi, said that the Mumbai attack was the revenge for the communal riots and the Babri Masjid demolition at the hands of Hindu zealots. If the Kuber had been sunk by the LeT terrorists, Ajmal Kasab not survived and arrested and there were no telephone intercepts, India would have found it extremely difficult to prove the Pakistani involvement.
Just as in the case of the 26/11 attacks, it was investigations at the American end that provided the big picture of Pakistani complicity in Islamist terror attacks against India. It also became evident that jihadist terrorist groups like the LeT and the JeM were part of the larger Pakistani strategy to contain and hurt India.
On 3 February 2010, former director of US National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair said before the US Senate Committee that the overall Pakistani strategy was to use militants as an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India's military and economic advantages.
This view was reinforced by a secret cable sent in September 2009 by US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, which Wikileaks released in December 2010, stating that Islamabad would not abandon the LeT even if the US was to pump more aid into that country. If the LeT-ISI combine is the heart of this jihadist-terrorist nexus against India, the Indian Mujahideen group is another manifestation of the same with the controls in Pakistan.
The origin of the Indian Mujahideen and its true mentors was revealed only after David Coleman Headley, a Pakistan-born American national formerly known as Daood Syed Gilani, was arrested by the FBI on 3 October 2009.
It was Headley who identified the voices of Abu Al Qama, Sajid Majid alias Wasi Bhai and Abu Qahafa in the 26/11 control room in Karachi. The fourth person in the 26/11 control room who guided the ten gunmen is suspected to be an Indian with the nom de guerre of Jindal Bhai as identified by Ajmal Kasab.
While arrested terrorist Amjad Khaja identified the fourth voice in the control room as Syed Zabiuddin Ansari of Maharashtra others believe that it could be Mohammed Abdul Aziz alias Ashraf alias Gidda, a radical Islamist who had fought the jihad in Bosnia and Chechnya and now works with the ISI.
Both Zabiuddin Ansari and Gidda were members of SIMI in the 1990s. While India is still to get the voice samples of those Pakistanis accused in 26/11, the final word on the Indian in the The Indian Mujahideen 226 26/11 control room is still to be said as Headley could not identify the fourth voice.
The Indian intelligence agencies, and visa and immigration officials were caught napping; they were oblivious to the fact that Headley had visited India nine times between September 2006 and March 2009 in order to survey Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Jaipur and other places to help the LeT target them.
Headley was arrested by the FBI, which had been informed by MI-6 that he was in touch with Al Qaida operatives in Europe, at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport while en route to Pakistan as part of the global conspiracy to target and attack Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that had earned the ire of Muslims all over the world for publishing blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in September 2005.
Headley's two associates in the conspiracy (called the Mickey Mouse project) to attack the Danish newspaper personnel and facilities were two top-notch Pakistan-based terrorists: Syed Mohammed Abdur Rehman Hashmi alias Abdur Rehman Syed alias Pasha and Ilyas Kashmiri.
While Headley was the first one to shed light on the involvement of the ISI-LeT joint venture in the creation of the Indian Mujahideen, Saeed and Kashmiri were the front officers of Islamist jihad against India. HuJI veteran Kashmiri's involvement in jihad against India began in 1994 with Omar Saeed Sheikh.
Abdur Rehman Syed was the controller of the Karachi Project, so called by Headley. But before we go into Headley's revelations on the Karachi Project in detail, it is important to understand Ilyas Kashmiri, for he is the perfect example of the fact that there may be group loyalties or specified target areas of operation in jihad but the master, the ISI, remains the same.
Excerpted with permission from Hachette India. Price: 550