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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Terror runs on a business model

Ravik Bhattacharya , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 04, 2013
First Published: 12:31 IST(4/9/2013) | Last Updated: 12:37 IST(4/9/2013)

Imagine terror networks being outsourced. Accommodation for terrorists, couriers who transport materials and explosives to a particular point, guides who escorts terrorists in unknown terrain - everything is outsourced and the entire system runs on a business model.

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Believe it or not, such business models are running in villages along some of the districts bordering Bangladesh, in district towns and also in Kolkata, sleuths of Kolkata Police Special Task Force has told HT.

“The entire machinery acts for a fee. There are safe houses where terrorists and their accomplices’ stay, there are escorts to take them to some other point, couriers who would transport materials (explosives and FICN included) to specific destinations.

None of the links share a common cause with the jehadis,” said an officer of Kolkata Police.

They don’t even know the nature of the men they are helping and materials they are carrying. In a sense, they need not - it is a ‘pure business venture,’ where money talks.The tariffs are also well laid out.

“For instance, a safe house owner in a village gets nearly Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000 per day, which is more than a room at a good hotel,” the officer added. Guides get R200 per day and couriers get R1,000 to R2,000 depending on the nature of the material they are carrying. From the rate itself, it is clear why the network works smoothly. It is too lucrative for a villager to ignore.

The network is operated in districts like Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, North 24-Parganas, North and South Dinajpur.

Safe houses are located in border villages, district towns and Kolkata. They are mostly located in densely populated minority areas, where the terrorists can mingle with the crowd.

Interestingly, most couriers, guides and safe house owners work part time.

They are engaged in other businesses, agriculture or odd jobs.

For instance, Anwar Ali Mullick who supplied explosives to Bhatkal in 2010 and was recently arrested by STF owned a teashop in Nadia. Abu Taher, alias Maulana Zakaria father-in-law of Tunda, now in a Bengal jail, used to be a maulana and ran madrasas.

The network provides vital supply line of men and material to New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jammu and Kashmir. From Syed Abdul Karim alias Tunda to Yasin Bhatkal, from LeT to HuJI to IM, all terror outfits survive on this business model.

The logic is simple: it becomes extremely difficult for sleuths to track the main man.

“Indoctrination is no longer required. Almost 90% of transit and supply have now been outsourced,” said a senior officer of Bengal police.

Over the past decade the system has slowly grown in Bengal. A network of touts, couriers, guides an d house owners have been set up.

They are controlled by people who act as managers and take direct orders from LeT, JuM, HuJI (B) representatives from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Dubai.

“They are different from sleeper cells. Terror organisations don’t have to indulge in lengthy and costly training or indoctrination programmes for these people to get their services,” added the STF officer.

The touts identify and convince house owners in border villages, district towns to give shelter to terrorists or safe keep explosives for a specific time against a pre-arranged rate. The house owners who keep terrorists as guests (distant relatives to neighbours) only know the touts and no one else.

The guides, who escort the terrorists are also paid by touts in a respective area.

The couriers who carry explosives, arms and ammunitions too know only the touts in their area and get paid by him. Managers are in-charge of the touts and make payment to them and to others. “This system gives the terror organisation much needed security.

Safe house owners, couriers only know the touts and never the main man. Even touts or courier doesn’t know each another,” said a senior officer of Special Task Force of Kolkata Police.


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