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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Who is Yasin Bhatkal?

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 29, 2013
First Published: 12:18 IST(29/8/2013) | Last Updated: 19:29 IST(29/8/2013)

In 2003, seven young men sat together in the Karnataka coastal town of Bhatkal to chart out a new course to pursue jehad in India. They decided to form a new organisation and named it Indian Mujahideen (IM).

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One of the seven founders of the IM was Ahmad Siddibappa alias Yasin alias Imran alias Shahrukh who after the 2008 crackdown on the organisation became its operational chief, say investigators.

Yasin was student of Anjuman College in Bhatkal when he founded the IM along with Iqbal Bhatkal, his younger brother Riyaz Bhatkal, Hafif, Gora Ismail alias White Uncle and Sultan.

In the 2003 meeting, Iqbal was anointed Amir (chief) of the IM and Riyaz his Naib Amir (deputy to the chief). White Uncle, Sultan and Yasin were entrusted with recruitment. But when Iqbal and Riyaz fled the country around Batla House encounter, Yasin became prime mover of the IM.

Investigators first became familiar with Yasin as Shahrukh who had handed over improvised explosive devices for the September 13, 2008serial blasts in Delhi to a member of module led by Atif Aameen, killed in the Batla House encounter, in Udupi.

But Yasin became prime target of the security agencies after he was seen in the CCTV footage planting an IED in German Bakery of Pune in February 2010.

It was culmination of five year long chase that led to the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal along with Asadullah Akhtar, another IM operative who is originally from Azamgarh in UP, from Indo-Nepal border in an operation coordinated by the Intelligence Bureau.

Yasin Bhatkal is a prime suspect in Dilsukhnagar blasts of Hyderabad and the Bodh Gaya serial blasts. At the moment the Bihar police is interrogating him.

Interestingly, Yasin was once picked up by Kolkata police in 2009 in a case pertaining to a petty crime. The Kolkata police didn't know the real identity of Yasin Bhatkal. He again managed to give a slip to the Delhi police in Mumbai and Tambaram in 2011.


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