When the Special Cell busted the city-based 14-man module of the Indian Mujahideen in its Friday morning operation, in which two of its members, including its alleged operations chief Atif Ameen, died in an encounter, its terror antecedents were hazy. Not any longer though.
An Intelligence Bureau dossier, comprising names of around 50 SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) top leaders and ‘active ansars’ (senior full-timers) who attended its secret training-cum-planning camp held at Choral in Madhya Pradesh last October, mentions the names of four suspected IM members including Atif who were alleged executors of the September 13 Delhi blasts and the July 26 Ahmedabad blasts. A senior IB officer said it indicates a “direct link” between the IM and the SIMI’s radical faction.
Apart from Atif, the IB list (a copy of which is in the possession of HT) mentions Atif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Shehzad, and Aarif. It also names arrested former SIMI chief Safdar Nagori, his aides including Abdus Subhan Qureshi, Peedical Shibly and Hafeez Hussein alias Adnan, among the other participants.
Atif was killed in the September 19 encounter with a Special Cell squad, while the police arrested Ahmed the same night; Shehzad and Aarif are among the seven absconding accused in the Delhi blasts/Ahmedabad blasts.
It was earlier suspected by security agencies that only Atif, among the members of the IM module, was linked to the SIMI.
When asked, special cell’s chief, JCP Karnal Singh said, “ We know Atif had joined the SIMI in 2001 but his arrested aide Mohammed Saif had claimed he had mysteriously exited the group later. But we suspect the IM, formed in 2005-6 in a strategic move at the behest of the ISI, was meant to be an independent strike arm of the Safdar Nagori-led faction of the SIMI that believes in violence.”
Singh added, “Nagori’s successor, Abdus Subhan Qureshi, when asked by the Ahmedabad blasts accused Abu Bashar, had described the IM men as the ones who don’t keep beard or wear skull-cap unlike the latter but are totally committed to jihad.”
The blasts investigators are searching for the men who imparted arms/ explosives/ideological training to the IM members and are specifically looking for an individual based in Madhya Pradesh.
Singh said the police would soon get custody of Nagori and a few of his aides to unearth the details about the activities and network of the IM.