Shahid Bilal alias Aamir, a 32-year-old top Harkat ul Jehadi Islami (HUJI) commander and suspected mastermind of Saturday’s twin blasts in Hyderabad, is believed to be visiting internet chat sites to issue instructions to his local operatives even after the dastardly act, says the Hyderabad police.
This class XII dropout from the city’s Muslim-dominated Malakpet area became the India chief of the HUJI only two months ago. He is believed to have “celebrated” his elevation by masterminding the twin blasts. Investigators are now trying to track his presence in cyberspace. His father Abdul Wahad along with the rest of the family lives at the Misram Bagh area of the city.
Bilal has been in the crosshairs of the Hyderabad police and central intelligence agencies for having allegedly executed the Mecca Mosque blast on May 18 and having used a Bangladeshi suicide bomber to attack the city-based headquarters of the Special Task Force (STF) in October 2005. For a top jehadi commander desperately wanted by the police and counter-terrorism agencies, Bilal surprisingly remains a shadowy figure with only sketchy personal details available on him.
His attributes, said a senior blast investigator on conditions of anonymity, include “brilliant organisational skills, an uncanny eye to spot a potential recruit for ‘jehad’, and brainwashing new recruits.”
Bilal, said the senior IPS officer, began his career early and was with the Lashkare-Tayyeba (LeT) before joining HUJI. “In 2000, he was recruited as an ISI agent alongwith his friend and associate known only as Faiyaq. In 2003-04, he visited Pakistan twice and trained at the Bahawalpur training base of the LeT,” said the officer.
Bilal visited Bangladesh in 2005 and was inducted into the HUJI by its chief Assadullah Islam, who sent him back with a “suicide bomber” who was used to carry out a blast at the STF headquarters. Investigators are also probing the role of Faiyaq in Saturday’s and Mecca Masjid blasts. Faiyaq is also a top HUJI operative and handles funds for the terror group.While Bilal is currently said to be in Karachi, Faiyaq is said to have escaped to Saudi Arabia or the UK.