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The arrest of perpetrators accused in the October 27 Patna serial blasts in Ranchi and Raipur, and their alleged links with the Safdar Nagori faction of SIMI, has forced counter-terror operatives to re-examine the nexus between Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahideen.
Nagori, who was SIMI’s general secretary before it was banned in October 2001, was arrested by security agencies from Indore on March 26, 2008.
Home ministry sources said the arrest of Umer Siddiqui — accused of providing shelter to the Patna blast accused — from Raipur this month reveals that the erstwhile SIMI-IM umbilical chord is intact with the Nagori faction clearly supporting the IM logistically.
Earlier in March, another SIMI ideologue Mazhar Imam was picked up from Ranchi, who had been in touch with absconding 2008 Ahmedabad blast accused Abdus Subhan Qureshi.
Mapping the arrests made by security agencies and police post Patna blasts, it is evident that the SIMI-IM nexus is active in Ranchi, Raipur, Samastipur and Darbhanga in Bihar. Patna blast accused Tariq, Imtiaz, Tabish, Ujjair Ahmed, Mujibullah, Noman, Toufiq and Haider have links with Ranchi while leader Tehseem Akhtar alias Monu belongs to Samastipur in Bihar.
“We are planning to question Nagori again to understand whether his faction knew about the training of Indian youth in Pakistan….Till now we assumed that Nagori’s faction was confined to physical development and basic target practice,” said a top counter-terror operative.
The Patna blast, in fact, has been an eye-opener for those skeptical of SIMI’s involvement in terror activities with growing evidence of large scale radicalisation in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Arrested IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal has told his interrogators about his meetings with SIMI leader Subhan Qureshi alias Taqueer (absconding since 2008) and believes that Nagori had done good work in pushing Indian minority youth towards jihad. Nagori in 2001, wanted to establish Caliphate under the leadership of Taliban’s Mullah Omar.
Another reason for counter-terror operatives going back to SIMI is that Nagori between 2003-2005 organised physical camps and religious education for the militant cadre in Ranchi.