Security agencies have heightened vigil in the wake of apprehensions that recent communal violence in Uttar Pradesh can be used by anti-national elements to radicalise innocent Muslim youths and draw them into militant outfits like Indian Mujahideen (IM) and SIMI.
"Earlier, we have seen that terror masterminds use such incidents to indoctrinate youth for jehadi activities.
Incidents in Muzaffarnagar can be used to instigate Muslim youths," said a senior Delhi police official, who has been closely associated with investigations in several terror related cases
It is especially so because, for IM, which recently received a jolt with the arrest of its co-founder Yaseen Bhatkal, Uttar Pradesh has been a 'catchment area' in the past as it has recruited youths from the state for its terror activities.
Terrorists arrested in the past have told interrogators how "concocted stories about the post Babri Masjid demolition riots and the Gujarat riots are narrated to youths giving them a distorted view to persuade them to join jehadi activities," the official said.
Top LeT bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda, who was recently arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi police, had also told cops that as a 'recruiter' and 'motivator' for terror outfits, he used to prepare youths in his madrassas to join jehad by narrating them tales of so called "atrocities on Muslims".
Incidentally, Tunda, who was born in India in 1943, is also claimed to have been radicalised in 1985 after some of his relatives were killed in communal riots in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra.
The agencies are also concerned as seven suspected SIMI members escaped from a jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh while Afzal Usmani, a suspected IM member and an accused in serial bomb blasts in Gujarat, fled from police custody in Mumbai recently.
Meanwhile, the official said that security of some of the premium malls in the national capital has been enhanced keeping in mind the recent terror attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
"Of course, we have alerted people. We need to follow the trend of what is happening around and the possibilities," he said.
The official also said that the Delhi police had already identified 534 vulnerable places in the city that include malls, hotels, busy markets, schools, colleges and other crowded places which could be targeted and security has been beefed up in these places ahead of the festive season and keeping in mind the upcoming assembly polls.