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LeT's new hunting grounds

No more recruitment drives in sensitised states of India - is the clear diktat Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has given to its Indian cells.

mumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2011 22:54 IST
Presley Thomas

No more recruitment drives in sensitised states of India - is the clear diktat Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has given to its Indian cells.

The diktat came in 2009 after Indian Mujahideen operatives and Simi activists were arrested in a massive crackdown across the country following bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Bangalore and Uttar Pradesh, said sources in the central intelligence agencies.

The crackdown had led to arrest of more than 30 IM operatives and Simi activists from various states after which LeT reviewed its recruitment and training strategy, sources added.

The revelation came from Mohammed Safikul, a LeT operative arrested from Malda, West Bengal in January 2009. Safikul had told interrogators about LeT's revised strategy and had named those he had recruited from the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Tripura.

Danish Riyaz, who is in custody of Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, and Abu Faisal, in custody of Madhya Pradesh ATS, has corroborated Safikul's statement.

"A computer hard disk seized from Riyaz, who is adept with Internet technologies, speaks volumes of the plans laid out by LeT," said a senior IPS officer from Gujarat.

The others in IM were asked to recruit only from Bihar and West Bengal, and if possible from the northeastern states, added the officer.

"Danish and Faisal said their handlers from Pakistan had warned them against visiting the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka," said a senior police officer investigating the triple blasts in Mumbai.

This was primarily because the LeT feared that state governments had stepped up vigil against IM operatives.

According to LeT handlers, Bihar and West Bengal governments had not been sensitised enough to carry out massive raids against their cadre, neither was public awareness against terrorism generated, said intelligence sources.

Danish and Faisal have also told investigators about the use of Simi activists as over ground workers in a manner similar to those in Jammu and Kashmir.

A host of names, which popped up after the arrest of Safdar Nagori and 12 other Simi activists, is being verified by investigators for funding LeT's activities in India, said sources in the intelligence bureau.