Security agencies have been able to cast their net wide over the Indian Mujahideen after arrested ideologue Bashar alias Talaha Hassan identified 10 other terror operatives. He had recruited the men at a prominent Islamic institution in UP, motivated and trained them following instructions from group founders Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.
To date, nine Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives have been caught in six states.
Nicknamed ‘Osama bin Laden’ because of his grasp of theological Islam and motivational capacities, Bashar, 45, a resident of Unnao, is turning out to be a prize catch.
He is the link between radicalisation in Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), J&K-based terrorist groups, subversive training by Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the rise of the IM.
Arrested on February 6, Bashar was produced in a Delhi court for the second time on February 19, and remanded in police custody again for 14 days.
Bashar is said to be a fierce jihadist motivator. During his religious discourses all over the country, his job was to identify young radicals for recruitment.
He joined the SIMI in 1985 and remained a part of its core team till 1990. He moved to Doda in J&K, trained with the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in 1991, and crossed over to Pakistan in 1993 to receive training from LeT-ISI experts.
Bashar came in touch with the IM founders Bhatkal brothers and through them, the much wanted Yasin Bhatkal alias Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa. After the detection of IM fundamentalist modules in Madhubani, Darbhanga, Purnea and Muzzafarpur in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka’s Tumkur, Saleyur in East Tambaram in Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, it is evident that the spread of the terror group is vast and it is linked with pan-Islamic outfits.
Investigations into the September 19, 2010, Jama Masjid bombing and car blasts reveal separate IM groups were operating on a need-to-know basis without any link between the terror teams.
With interrogators expecting further disclosures from Bashar, more arrests of SIMI-turned-IM operatives are on the cards.