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India has its own indigenous Islamist terrorist threat: CRS

world Updated: Sep 14, 2011 09:20 IST
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There is an dangerous growth of indigenous Islamist terrorism in India despite New Delhi's reluctance to openly acknowledge it, a Congressional report has said, adding leading such group is Indian Mujahideen.

"Despite New Delhi's reluctance to openly acknowledge the fact, India also has its own indigenous Islamist terrorism threat," the report said.

"The newly emergent 'Indian Mujahideen'(IM) group, widely believed to be an offshoot or pseudonym of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), has been found complicit in a number of recent bombings, even as government leaders continue to name Pakistan as an abettor of such episodes," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said.

The 94-page report was released by the CRS, independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress that prepares periodic reports on issues of interest to the US lawmakers,on September 1, a copy of which made public by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) on Tuesday.

"The New Delhi government formally outlawed the IM in 2010; months later, the group claimed responsibility for a December bombing in Varanasi that left a child dead and at least 20 people injured," CRS said.

"In July 2011, three synchronized bomb blasts killed 17 people and injured some 130 more during Mumbai's evening rush hour," the report said.

"No credible claims of responsibility were received and, to date, Indian officials have refrained from naming any specific foreign or domestic groups as suspects, but the coordinated bombings appear to have required sophisticated explosives training (Pakistan's two top leaders had immediately condemned the attack)," it said.

"Early indications are that the perpetrators were India-based, perhaps from the IM, rather than from a Pakistan-based group. Some Indian experts assert that the IM's top operators, drawn mostly from SIMI's ranks, receive training at camps inside Pakistan," the report said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in 2008, had acknowledged that involvement of 'local elements' in terrorist attacks added a 'new dimension' to the country's indigenous militancy problem.

"SIMI may be viewed in alignment with the greater international jihadi movement, given its endorsement of the goals of al Qaeda and its links with other international terrorist groups such as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami," CRS said.

As India's Muslim minority continues to suffer from glaring social inequities, it is likely that some among its numbers will remain vulnerable to recruitment in SIMI and/or the IM; the CRS said.