Known as one of the leading motivators of young jihadis, Abdul Karim Tunda ran a network of at least 10 madrasas in Karachi, Pakistan.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s top bomb expert, now in the custody of Delhi Police special cell, has told interrogators that his religious seminaries were funded by rich businessmen, private organisations and political parties.
It was in these madarasas, run under the banner of Mehdud-Taleem-Islam-e-Dar-Al-Funoon, that Tunda used to indoctrinate young men. He also trained them in making bombs and putting together improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
By his own admission, there were close to over 1,000 young jehadis under his tutelage. There are about 200 men of all age groups in each batch, sources said.
An explosives veteran of the Lashkar, Tunda turned a motivational speaker due to advancing age and excelled in that role equally. Known for his oratory, Tunda had been running these madrasas for over a decade.
“Tunda is known to be an orator and he used his skills to brainwash young men. He not only motivated them to take up the arms but also trained them. Due to his ability to indoctrinate, he was in great demand among terrorist organizations for his ‘pep talks’ to their men,” the officer added.
“To carry out a terror attack, you need a man, motivation and a bomb. Tunda provided all of them and that is why he was so popular among all terror outfits. His job was recruiting, motivating and providing explosives,” he said.
Tunda told interrogators that his hideouts in India were located in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Raebareli and Indore. He said that he visited these places during his stay in India between 1985 and 1993 and motivated several people to join jehad. After settling down in Pakistan, he rarely visited India. But he used to carry out the commands of his Lashkar bosses through his local contacts in these seven cities.
According to police sources, Tunda -- who was born in India in 1943 -- became radicalized and joined jehadi forces in 1985 after some of his relatives were killed in communal riots in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra.
In 1996, he trained several Kashmiri militants and was actively involved in the militancy that had gripped the entire Jammu and Kashmir during that period. Tunda was pushing his men and explosives into India through Bangladesh and Nepal borders.