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Gujarat riots breed terror in South

Gujarat pogrom’s memories are still driving disaffected Muslim youth to terror. Stavan Desai reports.
Hindustan Times | By Stavan Desai, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 16, 2008 02:18 AM IST

Six years after the communal riots in Gujarat, and three months after Narendra Modi confirmed his regency over the state, the pogrom’s memories are still driving disaffected Muslim youth to terror.

Interrogation reports, narco analyses and confessions made available to Hindustan Times after the recent arrests of nine youths from Hyderabad and Karnataka reveal the continuing connection between the riots and the indoctrination of terror operatives.

n The arrest of a 20-year-old in Davangere, Karnataka, on January 11 for vehicle theft did not register on security agencies’ radar until he was identified as Raziuddin Nasir. Highly trained at countering interrogation at terror camps in Pakistan, he kept silent for 17 days. And then he broke.

“I decided to join the jihad after my father’s arrest,” he said. His father, Maulana Naseerudin, was arrested on terror charges five years ago by Gujarat police. “We were going to revive the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India and use the Gujarat riots to bring together educated youth employed with the IT industry and multinationals.”
Nasir, trained by foreign mercenaries, and two of his close associates — Abdul Samad and Adnan (both absconding) —trained 40 youth in the forests of Kalghati. So far, the police have arrested only five of them.

n After the twin blasts in Hyderabad on August 25, 2007, the needle of suspicion pointed to Gujarat resident Rasool Khan Yakoob Khan Pathan. Investigations showed Pathan provided logistical support to the bombers, including Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami operative Shahid Bilal. After the Gujarat riots, Pathan, a Dawood Ibrahim aide, joined hands with Jaish-e-Mohammed cadres and recruited 14 youth for training.

n “Gujarat jal raha hai.” (Gujarat is burning.) That’s what was written on a piece of paper recovered from Mohammed Sattar, 27, and Mohammed Khadri, 23. Also found on them was a terror training manual CD and 71 copies of provocative literature.

“We are here to recruit youth for protection of Muslims in Kashmir, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh,” they said. They also knew the perpetrators of the May 18, 2007, Mecca Masjid blast and had undergone training in Bangladesh. Explaining how communal disturbances help terrorist organisations, Ajit Kumar Doval, former head of the Intelligence Bureau, said the Gujarat riots gave terrorists a fresh issue to exploit — until then, it had been the Babri Masjid demolition. “Fortunately, our society has not provided them too many such issues,” said Doval, the first police officer to receive the Kirti Chakra.

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