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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Instructions to Bhatkal: ‘Stay close to border and clean-shaven’

Haidar Naqvi, Hindustan Times  Kanpur, August 30, 2013
First Published: 22:06 IST(30/8/2013) | Last Updated: 23:43 IST(30/8/2013)

Yasin Bhatkal’s handlers on the other side of the border had two instructions for him and his boys.

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First they should stay put only in remote areas of Nepal but closer to the porous border with India. Second they should keep shaving and trimming their disheveled beards.

The safety measure was meant to keep them away from the glare of Indian agencies looking for them with best at their disposal.

Yasin who shuttled between Bangladesh and Nepal never drifted from what he was told. Not even the boys under his command.

Sources said the instructions came with list of possible locales where they could be in hiding. Deukhuri, Annapurna, Bhairwa and Pokhara were on top of the
list, which made their hopping into Uttar Pradesh and Bihar easier.

“They were asked not to venture in Kathmandu where Indian security agencies could have easily combed with their well-entrenched assets, the sources said.

“The places suggested to Yasin were strategic and suited the strategy of keeping them safe and helping him in unhindered operations. He could enter Indian side at beck without catching eye, do his work and go back into hiding,” he said.

The only difference from earlier way of working, the IM’s top operatives unlike the terrorists of other organization used the Himalyan kingdom to stay and not as gateway to enter India. Yasin has told after he came from UAE, Pokhara had been his base for the last eight months. And he many a times slipped into India to meet associates and plan.

What miffed him a bit was shaving the beard, which he did several times, as it was not in sync with his religious beliefs.  Asadullah who too had grown untrimmed beard on the insistence of his handlers as it made them distinct, cleared it off as and when needed.

Asad who following the Dilsukh Nagar had moved to Bangladesh, had joined Yasin in Nepal a month ago. He was specifically called in to work on the future strike with the help of Darbhanga module he helped cobble together.

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