He is said to be familiar with a large number of the Students Islamic Movement of India’s (SIMI’s) estimated 20,000 active cadres in the country. He is believed to enjoy a one-on-one equation with a majority of the key operatives of the banned organisation. And among his large network of friends, he counts Palestinian Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, Qazi Hussein Ahmed.
Forty-something Safdar Nagori, SIMI’s India secretary general, who was nabbed in a sweeping Madhya Pradesh police raid in Indore on Thursday, is an important figure in the global, pan-Islamic jihadi community. He is reckoned to be a master organizer and strategist. No wonder, anti-terror units from several states, and central intelligence agencies, have already started queuing up to get a chance to question him. He is believed to be a goldmine of information on terrorist attacks that have racked the country since 2003 on either side of the Vindhyas.
Nagori, said a senior Mumbai police officer, was involved in plotting the July 11, 2006 serial bombings that killed 187 people in seven local trains. He was with the blasts conspirators, 13 of whom are currently facing trial, till July 10, the day before the strikes.
Two months ago that year, Nagori had also held a meeting with some of the 11/7 accused in MP. He is also believed to have co-coordinated the Gateway of India-Zaveri Bazar twin blasts in Mumbai that killed 53 people on August 25, 2003.
In December last year, Nagori had tasked strike teams with carrying out a string of attacks, including at the Andhra Pradesh police HQ in Hyderabad and two nuclear installations — the Nuclear Fuel complex in Hyderabad and Kaiga Nuclear Complex at Karwar, Karnataka. The man who was supposed to carry out these strikes, Hyderabad techie Riyazuddin Nisar, 21, is currently in the custody of Karnataka Police.
Nagori, according to Nasir, instructed his followers that “Jihad is our path, India is to be liberated by converting it to an Islamic land, and turning it into a Dar-ul-Islam by either forcefully converting everyone to Islam or by violence”.
Nagori, said an intelligence officer, had over the years drawn funds from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Riyadh, and Pakistani contacts. He has excellent relations with the leadership of the Pakistan/Bangladesh-based HuJI, and International Islamic Federation of Students’ Organizations in Kuwait.