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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Northeast exodus: rogue SMSes traced to HuJI, Kerala group

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 21, 2012
First Published: 00:05 IST(21/8/2012) | Last Updated: 08:49 IST(21/8/2012)

Cyber security agencies have apparently detected the hand of radical groups, such as the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala and Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad al Islami (HuJI), while tracking SMSs that led to the exodus of Northeast people.

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They have been tracking SMSes — not all troublesome — from all sources. Of them, more than 60 million were sent on August 13 alone.

Cyber experts say it would be difficult to trace the route of these provocative text messages because hackers normally use third-party servers.

They also bounce the SMSs through several countries to avoid detection.

But they have been successful in detecting forwarding of bulk messages going viral from Bangladesh groups and PFI activists.

Some of the messages hold out communal threats of retribution for alleged atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a community in the Arakan state linked with Bangladesh, traditionally backed by Islamist and jihadist groups, such as the HuJI.

The Arakan state, in west Myanmar, lies on the route for supplying guns to Northeast insurgents through Cox's Bazaar, in Chittagong in the past.

The HuJI, formed by former Bangladeshi jihadists who took part in the Afghan civil war, was involved in the attack on Sheikh Hasina, now Bangladesh PM, in 2004.

The agencies, monitoring Facebook and Twitter, are also examining the possible role of the Hindu radical groups and the underworld.

The PFI, under focus with the HuJI, is largely a Kerala-based outfit, and had a role in chopping off the hand of a professor for alleged blasphemy in 2010. It was formed on December 9, 2006, after merging the Karnataka Forum of Dignity and Tamil Nadu-based Manitha Neethi Pasarai.

In February 2009, the Citizen's Forum (Goa), Community Social and Education Society (Rajasthan), Nagrik Adhikar Surakasha Samiti (West Bengal), Lilong Social Forum (Manipur) and Andhra Pradesh-based Association of Social Justice were taken into its fold.

Inheriting the operational core of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, the PFI has a cadre of 80,000 radicals, spread over Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh West Bengal and Manipur.

Even though home secretary Raj Singh has largely put the blame on Pakistan, experts are equally convinced of internal sabotage and are trying to find out who gained from the exodus.


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