‘Real threat to Modi comes from SIMI, not IM’

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2014 09:02 IST

After a spate of arrests of Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists, the counter-terror agency is now hot on the heels of Haider, the leader of Ranchi module that conducted July 2013 Bodh Gaya and Oct 2013 Patna serial blasts.

This radical faction of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is being seen as a main threat to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Born in Aurangabad in Bihar, Haider was given code name ‘black beauty’ by IM founder Yasin Bhatkal in 2011, and is currently on the run and known to be still in the country.

At present, Modi has the highest level of security in the country besides the Special Protection Group (SPG) protected Nehru-Gandhi family and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. An IG-level officer and his team from Gujarat handle the security of their chief minister.

After interrogating arrested IM India chief Tehseen Akhtar and group bomb-maker Zia-ur-Rehman Waqas, the counter-terror officials in the home ministry say the proscribed group leaders in Pakistan may want to stop Modi but the real threat comes from banned SIMI cadre as it wants to avenge the 2002 riots.

“The assumption that the IM and SIMI are hand-in-hand has turned out to be incorrect as none of the IM cadre, including Tehseem, was involved in Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts. These two serial blasts were conducted by Haider’s Ranchi module with bomb-making expertise coming from radical websites on the Internet,” said a senior home ministry official.

While Haider came in touch with Yasin and Tehseem in late 2011, the SIMI group has kept operational distance with the Pakistan-supported terror group with its main objective being to target or discredit Modi.

“The SIMI group led by Haider has refused to give cadre to IM and does not heed the advice of the Riyaz Bhatkal-founded group on whom to target. Haider had conducted reconnaissance of Modi’s Kanpur rally site on October16, 2013, three days before the rally. He then decided to target Patna on October 27, 2013,” said the official.

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