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Yes, we are still a soft state

Indian Mujahideen surprisingly, does not figure in the Home Ministry's list of 34 banned terrorist organisations.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2009 13:52 IST
Tushar Srivastava

Indian Mujahideen, the terror outfit held responsible by the government for several serial blasts during the past three years, surprisingly, does not figure in the Home Ministry's list of 34 banned terrorist organisations.

Al Qaeda, which so far does not have a direct footprint in India, is on the list and so is the Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj — an outfit you may not even have heard of.

Nobody in the ministry, responsible for this matter, was willing to say on record why the Indian Mujahideen had not been included in the list prepared by it under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

However, a senior ministry official, not willing to be named, said: “It takes time to ban a group. A ban is imposed on the
basis of inputs provided by the state police to the Centre.”

But he conceded “bureaucratic apathy, red-tapism and callousness” were the reasons behind such an approach.

A.K. Doval, former director, Intelligence Bureau, said, “There is plenty of evidence on record — both legally and otherwise — to declare the IM a terrorist organisation.”

Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who was killed in a gun battle with terrorists in the Batla House area of the capital, was awarded Ashok Chakra — the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award. The terrorists allegedly belonged to
the Indian Mujahideen.

Intelligence experts felt it was time the government updated its list of banned organisations. It was last modified on May 5, 2008. More so, because some of the outfits on the list have ceased to exist, while over 30 IM operatives have been arrested since September 2008.

The intelligence official said, “It’s been over 40 days that the Delhi Police filed its first chargesheet in the serial blasts case of September 2008. Since then, the police have filed two more chargesheets. And the Gujarat Police have filed at least six chargesheets in the Ahmedabad serial blasts case of July 26, 2008.”

He added, “The Mumbai Police alone have arrested over 20 members of the IM, including the entire module responsible for sending e-mails, claiming responsibility before each blast.”