The attack on the Central Reserve Police Force camp at Rampur marks a paradigm shift in strategy and tactics of jihadi groups, hellbent on making Uttar Pradesh their major theatre of operation — the four terrorists who escaped are believed to be part of a fidayeen squad.
This is the second fidayeen attack after the failed attempt at Ayodhya’s Ramjanmabhoomi complex on July 5, 2005. Five terrorists were killed then.
Needless to say, the state has been on the terror radar for 14 years. A fresh tide of attacks has made it the worst affected state besides Jammu and Kashmir. Security experts are baffled at the sheer intensity of terror groups and their growing presence in UP, which they say has become the best bet in keeping the ‘cause alive’.
“It is surprising UP has suffered a major terrorist attack when J&K has had none in five months. It is a clear pointer that the terror groups are making up in UP for what they have been denied in the Valley and other places by the security forces,” said a source. Statistics support this theory with security forces neutralising more than 80 terror modules in UP alone in the last three years.
Most of the modules taken care of were in cities of western UP where groups had inherited the infrastructure developed by the Harkat-ul-Ansar in 1993. All the current major players in UP — the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami and the Hizbul Mujahideen — are splinter groups of the Harkat-ul-Ansar while Lashkar-e-Taiba created its own base using SIMI’s infrastructure.
“It is a paradox of sorts. The terror groups have ready-to-use infrastructure and the state has always been reactionary in approach,” said the sources, adding: “it acts only when they strike instead of bringing a specialised mechanism to combat the most frightening scourge.”
Second, the state has not been able to crack the support network that has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years. And its failure in prosecuting the terrorist who, capitalising on poor documentation obtained bails and disappeared without a trace.
Time and again it came to light that the Hapur-Moradabad-Bareilly-Rampur belt was most vulnerable to terror modules. It was corroborated after security agencies busted the biggest Harkat module run by Ulfat Hussain in Moradabad and made the biggest recovery of lethal explosives and guns in 2003. The state police never followed the vital leads and ended up packing the case up.
Recently, Delhi police arrested LeT’s Asad Hilal from Sambhal though he was wanted by the UP police in connection with recovery of star pistols he brought to Jamiatul Fala Madarsa in Azamgarh.
What is worse is that the UP police are totally dependent on central agencies. If they worked out any case on their own, they got the wrong people to escape political compulsions. The best example is the Ayodhya attack. The UP police arrested LeT men but Delhi picked up the real players — JeM in Jammu.