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Of 24 terror suspects turned in by Gulf countries to India since 2012, 18 are from UAE and Saudi

The most recent such deportation was of an alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, Habibur Rahman, who was sent to India earlier this month by Saudi Arabia

india Updated: Aug 24, 2018 07:10 IST
Rajesh Ahuja and Jayanth Jacob
Rajesh Ahuja and Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UAE,Saudi Arabia,Terror Suspects
After Jundal, there have been about two dozen extraditions or quick deportations from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Thailand and Bangladesh.(HT Representative Photo)

India’s diplomatic efforts, especially in the Gulf countries, have resulted in the extradition or deportation of more than two dozen terror suspects to India in the last six years, an analysis of data of ministries of home and external affairs shows. Among the suspects, 18 were sent back from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The most recent such deportation was of an alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, Habibur Rahman, who was sent to India earlier this month by Saudi Arabia.The new wave of deportations and extraditions related to charges of terrorism began with Abu Jundal, a native of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. He was sent back to India from Saudi Arabia in June 2012.

“He was a prized catch due to his presence in a control room established by the ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Karachi to direct the 26/11 Mumbai attackers. Indian diplomatic efforts have played a part here. Besides, the world has become less tolerant to terrorism in any form after the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the Gulf countries too faced terror-related incidents on their soil,” said Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi police commissioner in whose tenure Jundal was brought back to India.

After Jundal, there have been about two dozen extraditions or quick deportations from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Thailand and Bangladesh.

“The contribution of Saudi Arabia and the UAE is the biggest,” said a home ministry official who did not wish to be identified. There was no formal response from the external affairs ministry.

Those sent back to India to face the law include Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich, who is a Thai national accused of supplying arms and ammunition to the insurgent groups in the Northeast. The deportees include Aboobacker Haji, Shareeb Mohammed Yusuf and Abdul Majeed, who have been accused of being involved in fake Indian currency smuggling rings and also those accused of being sympathisers of the Islamic State. Others include alleged Indian Mujahideen members Fasih Mehmood and Abdul Wahid Siddibappa. Mohammed Farooq Yasin alias Farooq Takla, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, was also sent back.

Both of Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi governments, have invested diplomatic energy in improving ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Modi was the first Indian PM to visit the UAE in 34 years in 2015. He again visited the UAE in February this year.

Recent joint statements between India and the two Gulf nations have had greater focus on counter-terrorism cooperation.

Saudi Arabian ambassador Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati said: “I can assure you the security cooperation is excellent. The foundation for this is the interests of the two people in countering terrorism and extremism. In the Delhi Declaration and Riyadh Declaration, there was a reference to this… and we signed a MoU on cooperation in countering extremism, money laundering, terror finance and other crimes. We have excellent cooperation in these areas and… (the latest person to be arrested) was deported from Saudi Arabia.”

“With these two countries, we are placing a lot of importance in dealing with matters of fugitives, issues of radicalisation and terrorism... Working out legal frameworks and sharing of information and taking measures aimed at deradicalisation of youth are part of these strategies. All these measures are paying off,” an official said. The UAE embassy here didn’t offer an immediate response.

(With inputs from Rezaul H Lashkar)

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 07:09 IST